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Superior Successor

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"My greatest hope is that you will surpass me in every way, consigning my name to some forgotten corner of history."
— Flavor text for Elder Cathar, Magic: The Gathering

A fictional phenomenon where a younger generation, a younger sibling, or some other form of successor proves to be smarter, more capable, or much more powerful than the preceding generation.

This can be used in several ways:

  • A parent who has some sort of gift or talent gives birth to a child with even better gifts.
  • A successor masters work that his predecessor spent their entire life trying and failed to, or completes it in a much shorter time period.
  • The new generation is more accomplished or successful than the older, attaining a higher standard of living or prestige.
  • An inheritor takes what was left to them and improves upon it.
  • The successors destroy the Sealed Evil in a Can rather than simply re-sealing it.
  • They solve difficult moral, political or philosophical problems, or stop a Regularly Scheduled Evil, that their predecessors couldn't.
  • Or, more simply, they make better use of resources or powers their predecessors had, even if they are no more powerful (or perhaps even less powerful).

The easiest explanation is that the new person is better talented. Another is that they're able to approach old problems with new ideas and/or a fresh perspective. Perhaps the older generation specifically raised the new generation to surpass them (or to bring hope where they'd failed). Maybe the old generation just ran out of time.

Another explanation is that advancement doesn't need to be linear. It can be geometric or exponential, and when a sufficiently powerful discovery or achievement is made, it automatically boosts what comes after. For example, every single person reading this has likely surpassed the geniuses that discovered fire and the wheel.

Do not confuse for Replacement Mooks or cases where someone or something inadequate was swapped out for something better. Making machines more powerful or capable than the last, or replacing someone or something that was a failure, makes sense. What makes this phenomenon notable is that there's a smidge of uncertainty. At least ONE person (the predecessor or successor) has to achieve their talent. If the predecessor was manufactured or cultivated, the successor needs to achieve it, or vice-versa.

Super-Trope to:

Often overlaps with

Contrast Super Prototype, Lost Technology, Ancient Astronauts and Stronger with Age. The polar opposite of Sketchy Successor and Inadequate Inheritor. Sucksessor is a subversion.

Quite often a staple in Shounen action Manga/Anime series and SuperHero Comic Books. Is quite common in cases of a "Well Done, Son" Guy.

Thanks to Mythology, this trope also happens to be Older Than Dirt.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Clover: Mereoleona believes that because Noelle, whose magic starts out as clumsy and crude, has to work very hard to become stronger, she will eventually surpass her mother Acier, who was known for her dignified and sophisticated magic use. This is high praise considering that Mereoleona, who is famed for being the strongest Magic Knight in the kingdom, never won against Acier herself.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo's reiatsu surpasses any captain's. Urahara holds the record for gaining Bankai — 3 days until Ichigo gets one in 2.5 days. He masters his Hollow mask better than the Visoreds, his Hollow powers make him more powerful than even the Espada, and when the Big Bad develops Ichigo's power to a level capable of moving Aizen into stratospheric power levels, Ichigo exceeds anything Aizen can understand and curbstomps him.
    • The Kenpachi is the title given to the strongest shinigami in any given generation of captains. The First Kenpachi (Yachiru) was never surpassed until Zaraki finally defeats her in a fight to the death, allowing him to finally genuinely earn the title Kenpachi. This Kenpachi, Yachiru was better known as Retsu Unohana.
    • Yhwach is the progenitor of the Quincies and no Quincy is his equal in power. However, the Quincy he appoints his successor is the one Quincy he believes is capable of surpassing him, Uryuu, who survived a direct confrontation with Yhwach's power when aged 8, becoming the first quincy in history to survive The Purge with both life and power intact.
  • Death Note: In the one-shot Never Complete, Minoru Tanaka is this to Light Yagami, as the owner of Ryuk's notebook. Although Light was intellectually superior to Tanaka, the latter was much more pragmatic. In a notable case of Loophole Abuse, Tanaka used the Death Note as a bargaining chip to clear Japan's national debt and avoided using the Death Note to kill anyone. Tanaka hid his tracks so well, even Near, who had cornered Light had to admit defeat. Basically, Tanaka did not become an Ax-Crazy egomaniac like previous known owners of the Death Note. The only reason Tanaka lost and died was that at the last minute, the King of Death added a new rule to prevent anyone from trading Death Notes.
  • Throughout Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the current Hashira generation start to stack up several decisive victories against Muzan's forces, including the Twelve Kizuki, to the point that, when they begin to actually win against Upper Ranks, it is solidified they are the best Hashira generation in centuries. Furthermore, as the Demon Slayer Mark surges among several Hashira by the time Kokushibo falls, the Twelve Kizuki system is effectively destroyed, and Muzan is killed for good. Thus, it is set in stone this Hashira generation was the very best after Yoriichi's time, as, even if they never became as strong as him, the Demon Slayers finally fulfilled their duty, so much that Kokushibo himself couldn't help but praise Gyomei as reaching the peak of martial arts, with Sanemi being well equiped according to him as well.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku masters the Kamehameha in a few seconds despite the fact that it took its creator, Master Roshi, his whole life to figure it out.
    • Gohan, who is only half-Saiyan, is far more powerful than his full-blooded Saiyan father was at the same age. Much more powerful. Unfortunately, he got nerfed a bit in-between the Cell and Buu arcs, since he slacked off on his training. Then, the nerf bat hit him hard over in Dragon Ball Super...then got tired of that, began training again, and shows promise of still exceeding his father eventually even with all the upgrades his father got since then. In Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero he transforms into Gohan Beast after witnessing Cell Max beat Piccolo into a pulp, and Gohan in that form effortlessly defeats Cell Max, possibly seen as another moment where Gohan surpasses his father. In the manga adaptation Dragon Ball Super, Gohan Beast is fast enough to hit Goku when he is using Ultra Instinct, which normally lets Goku pull a Nonchalant Dodge on everything.
    • Even though we mostly see Pan as a baby in Dragon Ball Super, she's actually a lot more powerful than probably her father at his peak. Her ki control at barely a year old is incredible, destroying a spaceship, surviving in space, flying around, beating Future Trunks around like a punching bag.
    • After having spent most of his life training in hopes of becoming a Super Saiyan, Vegeta isn't entirely thrilled to learn that both his own son Trunks and the late Goku's son Goten are both capable of going Super Saiyan without much effort before even turning 10.
    • Future Trunks either initially averts this or plays it straight, depending on the source: In the anime adaption, his master Gohan taught him to fight and tried to teach him to achieve Super Saiyan status well into Trunks' teenage years, but Trunks couldn't manage it until after Gohan's death; when he still fails to defeat Gohan's killers, his mother sends him back in time to find another way. However, in the manga, a flashback is shown of Gohan and Trunks sparring, and Trunks was shown to already be a Super Saiyan despite being a young child.
      • Regardless of origin story, he still ends up becoming more powerful than his mentor ever was. Turns out all that time he spent training in the past (the time spent in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber really helped) not only made Trunks powerful enough to take down not only the Androids who killed Gohan but also Cell himself. (He was in his weakest form, but still).
    • When Dende replaces Kami to keep the Dragon Balls active on earth, his version of Shrenron is stronger than Kami's. It probably helps that while both are from the same planet, which is what makes it possible for them to create Dragon Balls in the first place, Dende was raised and taught there while Kami basically taught himself.
    • Piccolo to his "father", the Demon King Piccolo, having been tempered by kindness from Gohan, allying himself with the other Z-Warriors as well as fusing with both Nail and Kami.
    • Piccolo was this even before he turned good. King Piccolo feared the Evil Containment Wave more than anything. Piccolo learned to reverse it and trapped his once more powerful good counterpart.
    • Zamasu views himself as this to his mentor Gowasu, and in terms of power, he definitely is. Unfortunately, in terms of actually doing their job, Zamasu is anything but superior to Gowasu.
    • Videl, Mr. Satan's daughter, is actually stronger than him even when you discount her usage of flight. It seems that he recognized this, thus refused to train with her, but it takes a while for Videl to realize this, believing herself weaker.
    • Dr. Hedo, grandson of Dr. Gero is shown to be capable of creating androids that far eclipsed anything that his grandfather made. His creations Gamma 1 and 2 are capable of matching Super Saiyan Gods in power and were created within the span of six months where Gero created 16, 17 and 18 after 14 years of research and was even capable of creating an even more dangerous (albeit incomplete) version of Cell.
  • In Fairy Tail, it's constantly stated that the younger guild generations are continuing to improve and eventually surpass the old ones.
  • Zig-Zagged in the Gundam franchise. While the mass-production units are usually inferior to the Super Prototype that inspired them, not only do some units tend to be better than the Super Prototype (such as the 105 Dagger being superior to Mobile Suit Gundam SEED's Strike Gundam) but some successor units can be inferior to previous units (such as the GM II of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam being inferior to the classic GM of Mobile Suit Gundam)
    • It should probably be pointed out that Zeta's GM II seemed so inferior to the original GM not just because it was basically a slightly upgraded version of the original (e.g. improved armour and power supply), but also because so many other machines straight up out-classed itnote  whereas when the GM was introduced in the original Gundam it outclassed much of its opposition. Played straight with the GM III of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, which was on a completely different level.
    • Played Straight with the traditional Mid-Season Upgrade of the franchise: the protagonist's new Gundam has much better specs and usually, is equipped with more systems and weapons, than his old one.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: At the end of Phantom Blood, Jonathan Joestar only could do a Heroic Sacrifice to prevent DIO from escaping while ensuring Erina his wife survived. When DIO returns a century later in Stardust Crusaders, it is Jonathan's descendant, Jotaro Kujo to be the one who destroys him.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Defied in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. Fate makes it clear that the trainees are not expected to be aces like Nanoha, Fate, and the Wolkenritter; they're being trained as "strikers," meaning that they're learning to be effective soldiers and team players. None of the second generation ever make it to S+ rank (the rank of Nanoha, Fate, and Signum); Teana Lanster would later achieve S-rank, but that's still a half-step below her mentor, Nanoha.
    • Subverted with Subaru and Ginga. Despite having the advantage of genetic and cybernetic enhancements, neither of them are shown to be strong enough to wield both of their late mother's Revolver Knuckles at the same time.
    • Vivio Takamachi is still up in the air on this one. It's been shown that she has more raw potential than anyone else in the series, but unlike her mothers, doesn't train nearly as hard, preferring to be a normal little girl instead of a Child Soldier. She has one of the most versatile combat styles in the series, but she's clearly not as strong as her mothers were at her age (though she can increase her power by aging herself up). The jury's out on whether she'll catch up.
  • In Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, Tohru is powerful enough to frighten her own father — himself a powerful Chaos Dragon — when he shows up to bring her home and makes the mistake of attacking Kobayashi. In the anime, they're more evenly matched.
  • My Hero Academia
    • This is the key to One For All being so powerful. It's a cumulative Quirk that gets stronger as it's passed on. Essentially, once series protagonist Izuku Midoriya fully masters it, he'll be more powerful than All Might. He reaches this point by default when it's revealed that One For All absorbed the Quirks of the previous users, with Midoriya being the first user to unlock the usage of these extra powers. He is also one by default when it's revealed that One For All has a Rapid Aging effect that only applies to users who already had a Quirk. However, because Midoriya was born Quirkless just like All Might, this makes him immune to the aging effect.
    • Invoked in the case of Shoto Todoroki. Endeavor deliberately sought to birth a child that would be able to overcome the deficiencies of his Fire Quirk and have the strength and discipline to surpass All Might. That is why he married his wife, who has an unnamed Ice Quirk, so that his children could inherit a hybrid version of the two powers that would balance each other out. Todoroki was the only child in the family to be born with the desired Quirk. He is superior to his father because he does not suffer from overheating thanks to the ice power cooling the heat, and vice versa, he does not suffer from over freezing thanks to the fire warming up the cold.
  • In Naruto, this is a recurring theme, encompassed in an overarching philosophy called the "Will of Fire". The Will of Fire essentially believes that love is the key to strength and peace, and one of the ways of expressing that is by allowing children to surpass their predecessors. This is showcased in several relationships:
    • All of the Legendary Sannin become stronger than their teacher, the Third Hokage.
    • Nagato surpasses (and later kills) his teacher, Jiraiya.
    • Minato (the Fourth Hokage) becomes stronger than Jiraiya and the Third Hokage.
    • Itachi is later surpassed by his younger brother, Sasuke.
    • Generally played straight with the title character, particularly with respect to his parents, teachers, and the past Hokage:
      • Naruto learnt to use the Rasengan faster than his predecessors, but at first only in incomplete form. It took the three-year Time Skip for him to fully master it (which was about the length of time it took its creator to make it). However, after he masters it, he's able to make far, far more effective and unique variations of it. (See page picture.) Naruto also completes the Rasengan by applying elemental chakra to it, something that Minato tried and failed to achieve. Granted, Minato died at the age of 24 so he likely could've gotten it done eventually if given enough time, but Naruto pulled it off in less than a year.
      • Naruto can also use a Perfected version of Sage Mode, when his mentor could only use an imperfect one. Later, he even learns to do it while minimizing its Necessary Drawback.
      • Naruto's parents, teachers, and senior pupil have all said they believe he is the one that will find a way to fix the Shinobi System.
      • Unlike the previous jinchuuriki of the Nine-Tails, Naruto finally manages to befriend and "tame" it.
      • The above examples finally become justified in Part II in several ways. It's revealed that using shadow clones allows one to learn faster, and Naruto also happens to be the only one capable of making clones for as long and in as many quantities. This is because he has the Nine-Tails Chakra, but that's only because his hereditary clan are gifted with exorbitant amounts of chakra in the first place. Also, his father intentionally put a small gap in the Nine-Tails' seal to allow Naruto to slowly access and gain control of it. And unlike the previous jinchuuriki (his mother), Naruto had the Nine-Tails implanted in him as a newborn, meaning that exposure to it was enhancing his already naturally impressive chakra reserves for his entire life instead of starting out as a teenager or young adult as is typical of jinchuuriki. And finally, his very name was given to him by his predecessors to mark him as The Chosen One.
      • Naruto also manages to surpass all the previous Hokages in power, even the first Hokage, Hashirama Senju is surpassed by him after receiving chakra from the other Tailed Beasts and Six Paths Chakra from the Sage of Six Paths, he also gained a godly transformation called Six Paths Sage Mode making Naruto a Physical God allowing him to fight and rival other beings who are godlike in power.
    • However, the introduction of the Otsutsuki clan, who are the alien ancestors of the Uzumaki, Uchiha, Senju, Hyuuga, and Kaguya clans bring an unexpected twist to this theme, as they had planetary-level Jutsu and far superior technology. Naruto/Sasuke's 11th-Hour Superpower isn't something new that they innovated or made for themselves, but old powers that an Otsutsuki gave them. It's noted, though, that this trope was pretty much in place until the Otsutsuki who achieved the pinnacle of their power, Kaguya, developed an ego from being worshiped as a goddess and turned against her two sons when they developed power that threatened hers. She pretty much tore down everything at that point and most of her clan's achievements and abilities were lost. From that point on, their descendants divided into several clans, intermixed with the rest of humanity and resetting this trope to start all over again from scratch.
  • In Toriko, the titular character manages to surpass his father Acacia and his Three Disciples, Ichiryu, Jirou and Midora, after awakening his White Demon and effectively defeats Acacia and his Appetite Demon Neo.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V has a very odd variant version when Yuya becomes this to himself. His original life, Zarc also wanted to duel to make everyone happy but the pressure and blood lust of his audience drove him mad. Yuya was able to grow past it and truly entertain people while keeping his sanity.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Raizen, one of the most powerful demons, can only eat human flesh since his body rejects anything else. When he meets his mostly-human descendant Yusuke, he says Yusuke has the potential to surpass him and is better since Yusuke can eat regular food.

    Comic Books 
  • Batgirl:
    • Barbara Gordon was this to Bette Kane, the original Bat-Girl from the Golden Age, to the point Bette's canon status is quite often forgotten; nowadays she's generally depicted as Flamebird, and this is usually her only identity. Bette assumed the Bat-Girl identity initially to romance Robin, whom she had a crush on, while Barbara became Batgirl because she wanted to help people and her status as a police commissioner's daughter meant she had the combat training to do it well enough to get Batman's approval and support.
    • Cassandra Cain, at least in terms of combat ability; in that regard, she might actually be this to the entire Bat-Family, being that she's a better fighter than Bruce himself. Barbara is better at the non-physical aspects than her though, due to being a well-educated genius prodigy while Cass did not even learn language until she was in her teens and still has trouble reading due to learning disabilities, but Cass still remained a more effective crime fighter than Barbara was during her Batgirl tenure.
    • Stephanie Brown averts this, in that she's nowhere near as skilled a combatant as Cass. She is probably about on level, if not surpassing, Barbara when she was Batgirl though, but this is up for debate. She does have Cass beat at least in academic measures though, and so the two used to trade combat training for writing lessons.
  • Batman: The Batman identity itself had this. With the same guy. Twice. Dick Grayson filled in for Bruce Wayne after Azrael did, and was far superior in that he is a sane and mentally normal person compared to the myraid of issues Azrael had (that really weren't his fault.) Not really hard, but it's there. After that short stint, Bruce reclaimed the Batman mantle, but eventually died in Final Crisis. This forced Dick to become Batman again, and he was shown to be better than Bruce at the job, his happier attitude meaning that police preferred him, and he had already surpassed Bruce in leadership skills since his Robin days.
    • In the Nightwing books, Dick and Bruce are constantly compared and contrasted regarding how they adjusted to their lives after their parents' deaths. Bruce took their deaths hard and absorbed the pain and horror of losing your entire world, becoming a darker human being in the process. But, because Bruce stepped in for Dick, Dick was saved from falling down the same path. Not only did becoming Robin give Dick a more immediate and direct outlet for his frustrations, but seeing a reflection of what could happen to him in Bruce allowed Dick to step away from that path. Bruce has, on several occasions, said that he's proud of his son for leading a happier, fuller life than he himself ever did. Also, it's pretty much universally acknowledged (including by Bruce) that Dick is a better leader.
    • Inverted with the fourth (or fifth) Batman, Damian Wayne. While physically he is superior, being Nigh-Invulnerable, he himself admits that he will never measure up to either Dick or Bruce and that he had to cheat in order to get where he is. He is probably one of the worst Batmen we've seen, to the point where Gotham went up in flames on his watch. Granted, this is in a Bad Future, so being depressing is kind of the point.
    • And as such, Damian's successor, Terry McGinnis, is a much better Batman than Damian.
    • Dick's successor and Damian's predecessor, Tim Drake, is also a worse Batman than Dick and Bruce. While he managed to keep Gotham safe, he destroys the Batman legacy by resorting to lethal methods, including killing Damian and attempting to kill Jon Kent. While as a tactician he's on par with Bruce, as a Batman he's only above Damian because he's not as lethal.
  • Black Canary: Dinah Drake was an effective Badass Normal in her time, and did well enough to earn a spot in the otherwise almost all-male JSA. Her daughter, Dinah Lance, however, is a metahuman with a powerful sonic scream ability, yet Fights Like a Normal. She was trained by many of the JSA's other Badass Normal characters, as well as several other trainers around the world. Even without her powers, she's one of the best fighters on the planet, possibly on-par with even Batman.
  • Cosmic Ghost Rider: The Heralds of Galactus are all bestowed with Physical God powers, in addition to others. However, the latest Herald introduced is by far the most powerful — The Cosmic Ghost Rider. Possessing the powers of a Spirit of Vengeance as well as the Power Cosmic, this Herald is in his own league of badassery even in a league of badasses. On the other hand, he's hobbled by two factors: firstly, he's not all that bright. Secondly, he's not even remotely sane - and he gets less so the long he's in Hellfire mode.
  • Darkseid's Omega Beams cannot penetrate Wonder Woman's bracelets. His daughter Grail inherited the Omega Beam, and hers are powerful enough to destroy the bracelets in one shot.
  • Fantastic Four:
    • Franklin Richards is a Reality Warper who sometimes makes universes for fun. By comparison, his father is a genius stretchyguy and his mother turns invisible and makes forcefields. While those forcefields are incredibly powerful, that's nothing compared to her son's near-omnipotence.
    • His sister Valeria is said to be smarter than her father (despite being about three, and her father being one of the greatest geniuses in history) and has more control over her forcefields than her mother.
  • The Flash:
    • The first three generations of the Flash had this dynamic going, averted with the fourth though.
      • Barry Allen, the second Flash, is much faster than Jay Garrick. Jay was fast, but Barry could easily reach the speed of light. However, this is more due to Jay's age than anything else, since, in his own Golden Age series, Jay could easily reach and surpass the speed of light.
      • Wally West, the first Kid Flash and third Flash, is the fastest Flash, being much faster than Barry ever was. Not only that, but Wally can steal speed from anyone and anything, and grant superspeed to others, powers Barry never attained. Even when Barry was restored to his prime, it was established that he always knew Wally was faster and still is. According to the multiversal guardian Tempus Fuginaut, Wally is the fastest being in all of existence.
      • Jesse Quick inverts and plays this straight. As technically the fourth Flash she averted it, being much slower than Wally (though Wally was only really pretending to be grooming her to be a successor; he actually intended Bart to follow him but was trying an Operation: Jealousy to make Bart more motivated, so Jesse was only a Flash for a couple issues), though her ability of temporary flight and strength gave her something of a boost. Within her own legacies though, she combines her father's speed and flight with her mother's super-strength and is shown to be much better at the former than her father was, due to understanding the nature of their powers better than he did.
    • Like with the Flashes, the Reverse-Flashes have this dynamic going for them.
      • Eobard Thawne/Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash to Barry Allen, is much faster than the previous Reverse-Flash, the Rival (Jay Garrick's), and is able to effortlessly time-travel.
      • Hunter Zolomon/Zoom, the Reverse-Flash to Wally West, can at the very least match Wally at his peak. How fast is Hunter? Wally had to leech the speed of both Jay Garrick and Bart Allen just to even have a chance of keeping up with Hunter and still saw Zoom as a blur. Wally was moving at the speed of light. The one downside is that Hunter isn't connected to the Speed Force and so isn't even really a speedster (he alters time in relation to himself, so he's essentially always a step faster than everything around him, no matter how fast it moves), and so he lacks a lot of the more complex and Required Secondary Powers (he can't phase through solids, and its shown he lacks the friction-cancelling aura that protects other speedsters, so his skin is always hurting from the air resistance). Regardless, he is at the very least one of the top two fastest beings in existence, with Wally barely being able to match him by stealing Jesse Quick's speed and using the Speed Force Mantra, so in terms of consistency, Zoom is the actual fastest man alive.
  • Green Arrow: Both of Oliver Queen's sons, Roy Harper and Connor Hawke, have this going to some extent. Roy's a faster archer and is also skilled in other weapons, and though Oliver did once Took a Level in Badass, Roy's firmly established as the one who is a master with any weapon (which is why he's called Arsenal). Connor Hawke, meanwhile, easily surpasses his father in sheer combat ability, being one of the greatest martial artists in the world.
  • Green Lantern: Kyle Rayner is considered this compared to his predecessor Hal Jordan. While Hal was a man who had no fear when he was chosen, Kyle was a man who was thrown headfirst into the world of superheroics, thus had to face fear and conquer it. It's probably no surprise many new Lanterns nowadays must do the same.
  • The Joker's latest gal-pal, Punchline, believes herself to be this as, unlike the last one, Harley Quinn, she completely understands Joker's logic and is devoted herself to it and him and believes he loves her. Harley doesn't buy it at all, thinking her not too different from her.
  • Within the Marvel universe, the Weapon Plus program had this going, though it skipped a few iterations of the project since they weren't really complete. Weapon I was Captain America, who was essentially the most Badass Normal you could get without being considered superhuman. Weapon X is Wolverine, who is indestructible (though not unkillable). Other iterations include Weapon IV, whose leader became Man-Thing, Weapon VI, which lead to Luke Cage gaining his powers, and Weapon IX, which lead to the creation of Daredevil foe Typhoid Mary.
  • The Mighty Thor:
    • Odin, All-Father of the Aesir, has been the most powerful god Asgardian for eons. Odin's son, Thor, is exceptionally powerful for his relative youth but is nowhere near his father's league. Odin has groomed Thor to one day be his heir, but due to the Ragnarok cycle, Asgard would usually be destroyed before that could happen. However, one incarnation of Thor (the one followed in the book) at one point managed to succeed Odin after the All-Father found a premature end. Thor not only attained his father's all-powerful Odinforce (renamed the Thorforce), but also Rune Magic and other sources of incalculable power. Thor used this power to destroy "Those Who Sit Above In Shadow", parasitic cosmic entities that feed from the life forces of the Asgardians via the Ragnarok cycle. By doing so, he freed Asgard after countless iterations of a Vicious Cycle and became perhaps the most supreme Asgardian to ever exist.
    • In Thor (2014), when Jane Foster takes up Mjölnir and becomes Thor's successor, she demonstrates superior control over the hammer. For example, she can hurl it and make it change direction in midair, which Thor never figured out. She certainly pulled a number of tricks that Thor never did, and had had the advantage of watching Thor at work for his entire modern superhero career, but the real advantage was the hammer itself, which had developed (or rather, redeveloped) a sentient streak and felt disposed to be helpful.
  • Roger Hayden is the second and most recognizable Psycho-Pirate than his predecessor Charles Halstead.
  • Spider-Girl: In a more positive way, Spider-Girl (May "Mayday" Parker) is shown to be somewhat superior to her father as she is much more athletic than he was at her age, and her wall-crawling powers are more advanced than his.
    • She is also able to use her spider-sense to find weak points in her opponents. Though, when describing her discovery of it to her parents, it's suggested that Peter can do the same thing but never thought to try.
  • Robin:
    • It's been noted that Tim Drake, the third Robin, is by far a superior Robin to his predecessor, Jason Todd. Not only is he far more intelligent (Batman himself has said that Tim will overtake his detective skills one day), he also has better leadership abilities and fighting style. This is part of what initially fuels Jason's antagonism when he Came Back Wrong; Tim being a better Robin than him made him feel like even more of a failure, especially as Jason himself massively failed to be this to Dick Grayson.
    • Damian Wayne, the fifth Robin, thinks he's this to both his predecessors Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown. He was trained by the League of Assassins since he was born and is a child prodigy, and as Batman's blood son, he believes he's naturally superior to both of them. However, while Steph isn't as skilled in martial arts as he is, she's far more emotionally and socially developed and understands the modern world thanks to not being raised by assassins, so she's shown to have a significant advantage over him when they work cases because she actually understands people.
  • Rogue Sun: A trend is that the further back you go, the more powerful the Rogue Sun tends to be... and the more twisted they are. The current Rogue Sun is Dylan Siegel, a teenager who literally became a superhero out of spite towards his father, the previous Rogue Sun, but who does eventually try to do right by the world and his family. His father was a serial absentee father with a selfish streak, and his father was a domestic abuser outright. The first Rogue Sun started as a hero but eventually succumbed to Knight Templar tendencies and ended up wanting to overthrow the world. This makes Dylan the most heroic by default but also the weakest thanks to ignoring attempts to train him.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Otto Octavius attempts to invoke this trope when he becomes the Superior Spider-Man. He ultimately learns that he is not Superior in any way.
    • However, Superior Spider-Man isn't the first arc to do this, but Kraven the Hunter tries it in Kraven's Last Hunt after he drugs Spidey and buries him alive.
    • A few others do play this straight. Peter's alternate universe daughter, "Mayday" Parker has all the same powers as Peter does, but her Spider-Sense is much stronger in that it can determine the threat coming at her and her wall-crawling powers extend to even causing other people to get stuck in place. Miles Morales, on the other hand, developed the power of invisibility and a bio-electric shock ability.
    • Felicia Hardy, Black Cat, is this to her father in terms of their cat burglary. Walter Hardy, The Cat, was a highly skilled thief, and he developed the grappling hook and other tech Felicia would use, but he was always just a thief at best. Felicia has been everything from a superhero to a crime boss and has developed superpowers, allowing her to become a Badass Abnormal, and so Walter is mostly just a footnote in her career.
  • Superman: In continuities where Superman has a biological child, that child typically grows up to be more powerful than he is, especially if the mother was Wonder Woman.
    • As of DC Rebirth, Jonathan Samuel Kent already shows shades of this as Jon has all of Superman's powers at seven years old (Superman never gained his powers until he became an adult) and could potentially become stronger, as Batman suggests because of his nature. This is shown as a bad thing as, in one possible Bad Future, he ends up using a version of Superman's own Solar Flare ability that ended up killing people. It's outright stated that, being a Half-Human Hybrid, he couldn't control it.
  • Thanos: Thanos is a pretty badass character and all, being an absolute Physical God. But his son, Thane, is probably one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe, with just one of his two powers. His left hand has the power to rewrite reality. While he's untrained, this just means it kills everything within a certain radius of him. His right hand can trap anything in a state of "living death".
  • Ultimate X Men: Jimmy Hudson has his father's Healing Factor and Super-Senses, though they are even more amped up due to his lack of an adamantium skeleton (he can sense military vehicles from miles away in the thick of The Living Seed's jungle, for example). He can also do something Logan couldn't — his claws (and supporting bone structure) can coat themselves with an organic metal similar to Colossus. Most importantly, Jimmy grew up with a good family and has a strong moral compass... which was the only thing Logan wished for him.
  • Venom:
    • Out of all the men to have donned the mantle of Venom, Flash Thompson is the symbiote's favourite and the best hero. Despite his attempts to use it for good, Eddie Brock always had a warped view of morality, and he himself even admits that Flash was always the best.
    • With the symbiotes themselves, it was established that, as a rule of thumb, the symbiotes get stronger the more generations they sire (though this depends on the writer).
      • Venom is a powerful symbiote in its own right but its spawn Carnage is more powerful than it.
      • The Life Foundation symbiotes noticeably avert this, none of them being noticeably strong or weaker than their "father" Venom. However, these were born artificially, which may play a factor.
      • The Toxin symbiote, spawn of Carnage, was not only meant to be stronger than its "father", but also one of the strongest symbiotes to ever live. It had the usual symbiote powers but seemingly also faster healing, while also being much less vulnerable to the typical symbiote weaknesses of fire and sound.
      • The Anti-Venom symbiote is all-around better than the Venom symbiote it's derived from. In addition to the usual symbiote powers, it also seems to heal wounds faster and also allow the wearer to heal others. These healing powers can also be used offensively to "heal" people, such as by removing the Spider-powers from Peter Parker. Anti-Venom's touch is also deadly to all symbiotes that it touches.
      • The Sleeper symbiote, another spawn of Venom's, possesses all of its "father's" abilities but is also able to generate whatever chemicals it desires, use these chemicals in more functional constructs — as opposed to being limited to the melee weaponry of other symbiotes, Sleeper can make a functional jetpack, for example — and seems to be have much better cloaking.
  • X-Men: The entire existance to mutants is that they're an evolutionary adaption. So naturally, mutants are stronger than their Muggle parents. Usually. But even so, quite a few mutants are more powerful than their superpowered parents. For one thing, it's common (though by no means guaranteed) for the child of a mutant to inherit their parent's mutation while also developing other, completely unrelated powers.
    • Professor Charles Xavier is a very powerful telepath. David 'Legion' Haller just as powerful if less experienced/skilled, and has a host of other Psychic Powers at a similar level.
    • Evilutionary Biologists specifically target the Grey-Summers family for this reason. Cable and Nate Grey are powerhouses compared to their parents Cyclops and Jean Grey/Madelyne Pryor, though Cable has a Power Limiter in the form of having to devote a significant portion of his telekinesis to keeping a "technovirus" from killing him (and it's implied that Cable, being the son of a clone, is a bit weaker than Nate, who reached the peak of his powers when he created and became his own reality). Even Rachel Summers, their sort-of older/younger sister (time travel complicates things) can now comfortably do everything her mother can and few more things besides, and is implied to have surpassed Cable's peak for raw power by the Krakoa era. note  She also has the ability to Time Travel, and she's the single most consistent host of the Phoenix.
    • And in yet another alternate future, Ruby Summers, the daughter of Scott and Emma Frost can convert her body into ruby quartz and project force beams from any part of her body.
    • Vulcan, the youngest Summers brother, is far more powerful than either of his brothers. Cyclops shoots optic beams and Havok has energy blasts, Vulcan has energy powers, absorption powers, healing powers, flight, healing, invulnerability... basically a more energy manipulative and physically weaker version of Superman. Oh, and thanks to a lot of trauma, he's completely psychotic. Fortunately, moments of brilliance aside, he's as dumb as a bag of rocks.
    • Hope Summers, trained and raised by Cable, is one of the strongest mutants to ever live.
    • One continuity actually inverts this. In X-Men Forever, which was what Chris Claremont wanted to do had he not left Marvel in the early '90s, it would reveal that mutants were actually an evolutionary dead end and that their powers would ultimately burn them out.
    • Nimrod is a Sentinel from the future. Due to the vast advances in technology, it is much more powerful than the present Sentinels.

    Fan Works 
  • All For Luz: All For One considers Luz to be this, and not because of her moral character. Its because her mind isn't worn away by the Quirk vestiges and more importantly she awakened the All For One Quirk in a single month, something he couldn't achieve in his century long lifetime.
    Shigaraki: What you did has proven to me that you are not only a worthy successor, but a far superior user of All For One. It only took you the length of a typical summer vacation to do something I could never do in my 150 years of living.
  • In The Bridge:
    • Godzilla Jr. is more powerful than his father. Godzilla Sr. could barely hold his own against Xenilla and needed M.O.G.U.E.R.A.'s help to beat him, while Junior can fight evenly against Xenilla. In fact, Junior in his default state is comparable to Senior in his Burning state which Junior can manage a partial version of that is safe for him to use. The author explained that Junior is more powerful than his father due to growing up into his mutation from childhood, as oppose to mutating as an adult.
    • Zilla Jr. is likewise far stronger than his mother. This is due to him incubating fully while his mother and siblings hatched prematurely.
    • Xenilla also surpasses his father Godzilla Sr. He can do everything Sr. can do and more.
    • By their very nature, each member of the Mothra line is more powerful than her predecessor due to Genetic Memory to draw on all the previous Mothras' experience, and inheriting the predecessor's power. The one in this fic, Mothra Lea, is vastly more powerful since she was born from a union between the previous Mothra and Battra (Mothra usually reproduces asexually), meaning she also inherited Battra's experience and power.
    • Irys is a member of the Gyaos race born an anomaly. She is much larger, more powerful, and smarter than her mother and the others. However, she is sterile. She's essentially what their creators intended for the Gyaos to be: a true Guardian Beast, namely Guardian Beast Eta of Sound. She can even access the Guardian Beast's Super Mode if conditions are met. The previous Gyaos could be considered her Flawed Prototypes.
    • Grand King Ghidorah admits Kaiser Ghidorah, a being created by injecting Monster X with his genes, is superior to him. They have similar power levels, but Kaiser is also a skilled fighter and has abilities King does not have like Vampiric Draining. King has devoured the souls of billions of beings to increase his power, but Kaiser was just as powerful and managed to defeat him when he did not have any.
  • In brilliant lights will cease to burn, Sakura declares Izuku to be this for using the Sakura Cards to help people and change their lives when she had no driving goal or passion in life other than to preserve the status quo.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Magneto is a terrifyingly powerful mutant. While Pietro isn't in the same weight class, Lorna is suggested to eventually be his equal (at least), and Wanda blows him out the water - her mutant power is probability manipulation in at least the same order of power as his gifts, and she's the strongest practitioner of Chaos Magic in millennia. She's at least as strong as he is, twice over. There's no telling where Hermione, Wanda's daughter, will end up, but she's indicated to have at least her mother's potential. And she is not happy about it.
      • Wanda, in turn, is designed to be this to Doctor Strange as Sorceress Supreme. While she lacks his towering reputation and fearsome temporal powers/manipulative abilities, she's stronger than he is, has a reputation of her own, and part of that reputation is for fair dealing (rather than Strange's scheming and terrorising). Oh, and unlike him, she's sane, whereas Strange is Crazy Sane on a good day. He certainly considers her an improvement.
    • Harry is hinted to eventually be one for his father, Thor. While it's definitively stated that he'll peak at three-quarters of his father's vast strength and durability, he's considerably faster and more agile, as well as a monstrously powerful wizard (given that Asgardians are living magic-reactors), and the third most powerful human psychic ever born. The other two? Jean Grey and her stolen-at-birth twin, Madelyne Pryor, who are both comfortably Thor's match for raw power in their late teens. He's also got a fragment of the Phoenix Force as his protection. All of this is by Strange's design, but the development is uneven (i.e. Squishy Wizard problems) and given how suddenly he was 'blessed' with it, it tends to blow up in his face.
      • He's also hinted to be one for Strange, combined with half of Mentor's New Hope (the other half is Wanda).
    • The Red Son is designed to be this to the Winter Soldier. The first one was implied to have got a bit Lovecraftian. The second one, Harry, far surpassed the Winter Soldier for power, but lacked the same experience and ability to think laterally. Given that he'd been turned into an Empty Shell, this is unsurprising.
  • Harry and the Shipgirls introduced Kyoshu, one of the blades of Muramasa, who has the power to freely erase someone else's memory. Later we are introduced to her daughter Kensho, who is capable of imposing this on reality itself, to the point of making spells forget that they were ever cast and making recently-damaged objects forget that they were ever damaged in the first place.
  • A Supe of a Man: Edgar and Stillwell, despite their doubts about Clark's true nature, are aware that he is a more stable version of Homelander and hope to one day put Clark in charge of the Seven.
  • Total Drama Legacy: Katherine is this to her father Ezekiel. Famously, Ezekiel is the only Total Drama contestant to be voted off first on two occasions. However, in Total Drama Legacy, not only does Katherine avoid getting voted off first, she avoids getting voted off, period. In fact, she ends up winning.
  • Weight Off Your Shoulder revolves around Marinette passing on the Ladybug Earrings to somebody else, sacrificing all of her memories related to the Earrings and her Guardianship in the process. The new Ladybug swiftly deals with Shadow Moth, Chloe and Lila, leaving Marinette even more convinced that she was a Failure Hero who didn't deserve the Earrings in the first place.

    Films — Animation 
  • Ratatouille: Rémy is basically one to Gusteau himself, as he manages to take an infamously bad recipe declared by the chef to be an Old Shame and transforms it into a well loved and popular recipe, on top of managing to succeed in winning over Ego, which Gusteau could never do.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Fly, Seth's Brundlefly form is a sickly mutated monster that is stronger than normal humans — but ultimately goes down to a couple of ordinary people with one gun between them. His son Martin in The Fly II eventually metamorphoses into a formidable insect man-beast who effortlessly tears his way through an entire complex full of heavily armed guards.
  • Friday the 13th: Pamela Voorhees was a normal woman who only managed one major killing spree before being Killed Off for Real. Her son Jason, on the other hand, is an undead juggernaut that has survived numerous fatal injuries and racked up a considerably higher body count than his mother.
  • Johnny English Strikes Again: The current Agent Pegasus surpasses the (admittedly low) bar set by his predecessor from the first film. He spends more time seeking the best agent available for the mission. He also had a slightly more active role in the first burial mission prep and doesn’t mock and dismiss Johnny for claiming that a celebrity is the Big Bad, although he requires more proof.
  • SHAZAM! Fury of the Gods: The Wizard admits that Billy Batson is better than him. When the Wizard had the power of Shazam, instead of being a hero, he spent centuries wallowing in misery and trying to find a successor using impossibly high standards. Shortly after Billy got the power, he shared it with his siblings so that they could all be heroes. The Wizard didn't even know he could do that and that multiple people could be worthy.
  • Star Wars:
    • Luke Skywalker eventually surpasses Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and Anakin Skywalker in power, becoming arguably the strongest Jedi in history, without the advantage of formalized training like the aforementioned three. Although the Legends version of Luke Skywalker is far more impressive than canon Luke, the latter is no slouch either; in his final encounter with Kylo Ren, he manages to create a Force projection of himself across star systems - something no Force user has ever been demonstrated to do in the films.
    • Sith operate exclusively on this principle, seeing as how they follow the rule of Klingon Promotion. It's also their greatest downfall, compared to the cooperative Jedi. Ultimately Defied, however. One Dark Lord once speculated that if the principles behind the "Rule of Two" were successful, eventually there would come a Dark Lord with no need for successors. This was eventually realized in Emperor Palpatine, who became the most powerful Sith in history. Palpatine's plans largely revolved around the belief that he would attain Immortality and amass enough power that no one would ever threaten him. The three apprentices he trained (Maul, Tyrannus, and Vader) never even came close to achieving his level of power and he never bothered to teach them, or anyone else, the majority of what he knew. Palpatine once off-handedly remarked that Vader would succeed him in strength, but his loss and subsequent crippling to Obi-Wan on Mustafar ensured that would never happen.

  • The Apothecary Diaries; the current Li Emperor (while not seen all that often) is miles ahead of his father in terms of respectability and authority. The previous Emperor was a weak-willed Manchild dominated by his overbearing mother, which led to him failing to run the country effectively and developing a taste for underaged girls for his harem. His son, by contrast, is a Reasonable Authority Figure who treats his concubines well and tries to rule his country as fairly as possible, such as banning slavery and stopping the random kidnappings of peasant women that his father indulged in. His only vices are that he is a bit of a horn dog (though unlike his father, he likes his women to be of age and voluptuous), his tendency to play mind games with some of his retainers, and he completely misread the feelings of his childhood sweetheart Ah-Duo, leading to emotional pain for both of them.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Albus Dumbledore is regarded as a much better Hogwarts headmaster than Armando Dippet. While we don't know too much about Dippet's time, he did expel Hagrid for a crime he didn't commit just to appease Moral Guardians.
    • Remus Lupin is the third Defence Against The Dark Arts Teacher Harry has. His predecessors were Quirrell who was The Mole for Voldemort and Lockhart who was an incompetent fraud.
  • James Herriot noted with a mixture of pride and chagrin that when one of his children qualified as a vet, the general opinion among farmers whose animals had been tended by both was that "young Herriot was a hell of an improvement on the old man".
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Deep Thought is created as the most advanced computer in history in order to provide its creators the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, Everything. After receiving its task, Deep Thought tells the beings to come back in a few billion years. They do, at which point Deep Thought provides them an answer: 42. Seeing that they were disappointed, Deep Thought tells them that the Ultimate Answer is meaningless without the Ultimate Question. However, Deep Thought is not powerful enough to come up with it. Instead, it helps them design an even more powerful computer called Earth.
  • In Ryk Spoor's Princess Holy Aura, the current incarnation of Princess Holy Aura is this; in that universe, a Magical Girl's power is directly proportional to whatever she has given up or risked to become a Magical Girl, and the current incarnation risked substantially more than any previous Princess.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire Tywin Lannister is clearly this. His father Tytos Lannister was a gentle, kind, and pleasant man who lent generously but was perceived as weak, meaning some of his vassals refused to pay him back, leading to the Reyne-Tarbeck rebellion. His son and heir, Tywin Lannister, defeated them on his own initiative. When the remaining Reynes hid in their underground fortress of Castamere, Tywin had the place sealed and flooded. He goes on to become one of the most feared men in Westeros.
    • In the backstory, there's King Daeron II, who followed on from his father, Aegon IV, the Unworthy, a Fat Bastard who seemed to devote his life to having sex with as many women as he could find, and nearly ruined the kingdom for sheer giggles. After that, pretty much anything would be a step up, but Daeron proves a pretty dang effective ruler, even as his cousins decide they really want that shiny crown for themselves.
    • Fire & Blood has Jaehaerys I, to both his father Aenys I and his immediate predecessor Maegor the Cruel. Jaehaerys is neither weak and ineffectual like his father, nor a rabid psycho like his uncle, and manages to preside over one of the most, if not the most stable period in Westeros' history. It all goes tragically downhill after he goes, and no Targaryen king since, no matter how good they are, has quite managed his level of success.
  • It's feared that this could happen in The Sword of Truth. Richard Rahl, the successor to a powerful line of mages, who also happens to be a War Wizard (capable of using both the "good" and "bad" sides of magic naturally), and the wielder of the Sword of Truth marries the Mother Confessor, who have the power of Compelling Voice. A child with these traits (although War Wizardry usually isn't hereditary) would be bad enough, but it's also stated that male Confessors always abuse their powers without fail.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: Sauron is this to Morgoth. Although Morgoth has his number where sheer power is concerned, Sauron is far more intelligent and capable of long-term planning than his master could ever hope to be. It was precisely these traits that allowed Sauron to outlast Morgoth and claim the title of Dark Lord for himself, a position he held for two entire ages before his final defeat, and although he was at his weakest, he was closer to total victory than his predecessor ever was due to how weakened his own enemies were for the War of the Ring.
  • Full Metal Panic!: The ARX-7 Arbalest was equipped with an experimental Lambda Driver before its operation was fully understood, and while very powerful, the Lambda Driver didn't seem always willing to work, to the point Sousuke didn't particularly like to pilot the thing. After it was destroyed ,its AI was transferred to a new mecha, the ARX-8 Laevatein, designed to be much more powerful than its predecessor (albeit with the disadvantage of lacking the ECS for optic camouflage) and Sousuke quickly finds it a lot more reliable when using the Lambda Driver's powers, taking to it as early as his first battle with it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Boys: Played with. Homelander believes this about himself when compared to Soldier Boy. Soldier Boy's powerset is similar to Captain America's (complete with shield), with enhanced strength, durability, mental processing, and so on. Homelander, by contrast, is essentially evil Superman, with flight, nigh-invulnerability, heat vision, super speed, and so on. In terms of raw power, Homelander is far and away superior. But Homelander's essentially a bully, a spoiled Psychopathic Manchild who craves attention and approval, while Soldier Boy is a trained soldier. Thus Soldier Boy is without a doubt the superior combatant, as his powers allow him to go toe-to-toe with Homelander, while his training versus Homelander's lack thereof gives him a clear edge. The connection runs even deeper, as it turns out that Soldier Boy is Homelander's biological father via unwitting sperm donation.
    Homelander: You were my hero growing up. I watched all your movies, hundreds of times. You were the only one who was nearly as strong as me.
    Soldier Boy: You think you look strong, you're wearing a cape. You're just a cheap fuckin' knockoff.
    Homelander: *seething* Oh no no no. I'm the upgrade!
  • Charmed (1998): When Prue Halliwell, the eldest Charmed One is killed off, her successor is a long-lost half-sister called Paige Matthews. While Paige frequently compares herself to Prue, worrying she won't measure up, and the other two mourn their sister, the Charmed Ones accomplish even more with Paige. They vanquish the Source of All Evil, accomplishing their shared destiny years ahead of schedule. Paige herself accomplishes plenty in her time, taking over Magic School to help teach the next generation, and it's a joke in the Season 5 premiere that she has a sizable fan base among the magical community.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Tommen is considered this, for reasons both cynical and idealistic. From a cynical perspective, he's younger and less headstrong and will be easier to manipulate. Idealistically, he's a nice boy who's actually interested in doing a good job, while his predecessor was a sadistic, cowardly, idiot with no interest in the position beyond what it let him get away with. Objectively, it's hard for Tommen not to be better than his older brother — though whether he will be a great king is debatable given he rarely, if ever takes an action of his own volition and spends every single moment in office being (not subtly) manipulated by one of the bajillion third parties that want to take advantage of him (everyone, up to and including his mother). And it's unlikely he'll ever be more than that because he jumps from a window after his mother commits a terrorist attack on his own capital city, killing his wife and religious mentor (who, by the way, was another manipulator).
    • If one takes Drogon as the successor to his namesake, Khal Drogo, he fulfills the latter's unfulfilled promise of leading the Dothraki horde west across the "poison water" (the Narrow Sea) to "kill the [Westerosi men] in their iron suits". It is yet to be established if he can actually surpass his supposed ancestor and spitting-image, Balerion the Black Dread, but his performance at the battle with the Lannister-Tarly forces shows he has the potential (setting fire to a combined army on his own — while Aegon I, Visenya, and Rhaenys had to do it with all three of their dragons).
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Kuuga: While the ancient first Kuuga, Riku, was a skilled warrior, he wasn't able to finish off the Grongi and couldn't control Kuuga's Ultimate Form, which requires someone pure of heart not to succumb to its berserker instincts. His modern successor, Godai Yusuke, is able to do both.
    • Kamen Rider Agito: The primary Agito seen throughout the series is the second, and ends up being much more powerful than the first. This is mostly implied to be a matter of how long he had the power compared to her, though, as Agito's power is constantly increasing.
    • Kamen Rider Drive: Drive's predecessor, Proto-Drive, could defeat Roidmudes in battle but lacked the ability to destroy their cores, meaning they could simply rebuild themselves and come back for another round over and over until he was defeated. The modern Drive can not only destroy cores, but quickly becomes far more powerful and versatile than Proto-Drive ever was. One of the show's movies features Drive's son from the future, who's even more powerful than his father as Kamen Rider Dark Drive.
    • Kamen Rider Saber: Nearly all of the Riders are the latest in a long line of wielders of their sacred swords stretching back thousands of years, and prove to be the generation capable of ending the conflict with the Megid once and for all.
    • Kamen Rider Revice: In a rare case of being combined with Older Is Better, it's the first wielder of the Vail Driver or its many derivatives who ends up being its most powerful user, after he receives a new modern version that finally eliminates the abundant design flaws of its predecessors.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the episode "The Offspring", Data creates another Soong-type android, his "daughter" Lal. In addition to having a more huamnoid appearance than Data with natural skin and eye coloration, Lal also has a more advanced positronic brain that allows her to learn more quickly than her "father", mastering contractions in speech and human interaction at a faster pace. Unfortunately, her First Time Feeling fear — when a Starfleet admiral threatens to seperate her from Data for study — leads to a cascade failure that leads to her permanently shutting down.
  • In The Twilight Zone (2002) episode "It's Still A Good Life", Anthony Fremont's daughter Audrey is an even greater Reality Warper than him. She can bring back things that have been erased from existence, which Anthony cannot do.
  • Ultraman Zero: The titular Ultra proves himself as this to his father, Ultraseven, while Seven is no slouch in battle, Zero so far has proven himself as a superior and more powerful fighter. Better demonstrated when Zero first defeated Belial and his 100 Monster Army, which Seven was unable to overcome. Likewise, Zero proceeds to save the Multiverse in later occassions. Most notably in Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial, Zero can fight off 2 Darklops for a while before getting overwhelmed (robotic copies of him) while Seven struggles combatting a single one. And he has two Eye Sluggers instead of just one.
    • That said, Ultraseven is still a much better diplomat than his son, due to Zero being so Hot-Blooded and being somewhat of a justified Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Enûma Eliš, the Annunaki grew smarter, stronger, and more magically potent with each generation, culminating in Marduk or Ashur, Depending on the Writer.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Zeus feared that this would happen to him a few times. Notably, when it was prophesied that Metis might father him a son that would overthrow him (if Metis birthed a daughter, he had nothing to worry about, since she would be weaker than him and loyal), Zeus ate her and later himself gave birth to Athena.
    • It was also prophesied that Thetis' son would be more powerful than his father. Upon learning this, Zeus and Poseidon, who had both desired her, realized sleeping with her would be a bad idea, so they married her off to the mortal king Peleus. She gave birth to Achilles, who was a great warrior more powerful than his father, but no threat to the Olympians.
    • Subverted with the Giants: they were created by Gaia to overthrow the Olympians, but, after getting an initial scare because the Giants were more powerful, the Olympians ended up winning the confrontation; namely due to Hercules providing vast support through a constant arrow barrage.
    • You could say the trope is still played somewhat straight with Hercules. While initially a demigod, his time as humanity's champion and being with mortals helped him become better and more likable than most of his parents' generation. Upon his death, he graduated to full god status and remained a god of heroism and sport. Not to mention, he was a key role in defeating the Olympians' would-be successors.
  • In The Bible, John the Baptist foreshadows Jesus's coming by stating that the next prophet will be far greater than himself.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Alicia Fox was initially a Beta Bitch to Michelle McCool as she began her rise to the top of Smackdown in 2009. The alliance disappeared when Alicia was traded to Raw, and Layla then became Michelle's new partner. Their team, LayCool, ended up dominating the division for the longest time, even co-holding the Women's Championship at one point. Layla likewise eventually retired Michelle after a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal.

    Video Games 
  • In Ace Combat 2, and its remake Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy, the rebels were supported by an Artificial Intelligence called the Z.O.E.. While it was a dangerous adversary, it wasn’t truly intelligent, and after the war, the program was discontinued. However, in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, the project is restarted, and eventually results in Hugin and Munin, but they prove to be far more intelligent than their creator, Dr. Schroeder, had anticipated, and they try to start a Robot War with the data that Schroeder had collected. Then, sometime in between Skies Unknown and Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere, Simon Orestes Cohen acquires the technology to create Hugin and Munin and uses it to create Nemo, who is not only far more intelligent than Hugin and Munin but is also capable of forming bonds with its human wingmen.
  • God of War:
    • Like his mythical counterpart, Zeus is afraid of fathering a child more powerful than himself, since he overthrew his father Chronos, and Chronos overthrew his father Uranus. This was why he tried to kill Kratos, and thus it becomes a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
    • Kratos himself takes the place of his master, Ares, as the new war god, and proves less controllable and more dangerous than Ares ever was.
    • God of War Ragnarök: Kratos encourages his son, Atreus, to eventually become stronger than him when he grows up.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In the backstory of Final Fantasy V, the Four Warriors of Dawn defeated the Big Bad but could only seal him away. When the seal breaks, as seals tend to do, the player's party manages to destroy him for good. Two of the player characters namely, Bartz and Krile, are descended from members of the previous group.
    • Final Fantasy IX: In contrast to her power-hungry mother Queen Brahne, who started a war, Princess Garnet is a kinder and gentler successor. She is implied to become The High Queen by the game's end.
    • Final Fantasy X:
      • Yuna is forever living in the shadow of her father, Lord Braska, who was the latest summoner to defeat Sin and bring about the Calm. She ends up surpassing him by defeating Sin for good.
      • In the sequel, the corrupt church of Yevon is reformed with a new leader Baralai. While he does spend some time possessed by a malevolent entity, he's ultimately proved a good guy who wants Yevon to make up for their mistakes.
      • Also in the sequel, Cid is no longer leading the Al Bhed and most of them flock to a man called Gippal — who is leading the Machine Faction. With machina no longer outlawed, he's helping make a lot of technological advancements.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 2: The "Toy" versions of the main robots have several highly-touted features, and the original cast are quite literally broken-down relics. But then the second game is a prequel. The Toy robots are decommissioned and destroyed when management concludes they were malfunctioning, and the main cast are rebuilt. And they grow a lot smarter between the second game and the first. Especially Freddy himself.
  • Galaxy Angel II: The Luxiole was specifically designed to be this to the Elsior in the Galaxy Angel trilogy, which was a Lost Technology battleship more powerful than anything in the Transbaal Empire's fleet at the time. The Luxiole boasts higher firepower and armor, as well as the capacity to split into its upper and lower sections to be controlled independently from each other (thanks to a secondary bridge in the lower section) while still keeping the same commodities for the crew that the Elsior had and then some. This becomes a plot point at the start of the final game when the heroes have to choose between sacrificing either the Elsior or the Luxiole to save planet Val-Rundal from a singularity that will swallow it, and the choice is made on the grounds that the Luxiole is the superior ship and would be more beneficial in the long run.
  • Gihren's Greed: As expected of a series that weaponises the Lensman Arms Race, as a player improves their technology available Mobile Suits become more and more powerful. However, sometimes this leads to evolutionary dead ends. For example, the humble GM can have several successors that exceed the original (e.g. the GM Sniper and later the GM Sniper II, the GM Kai, the GM Custom). However, the GM Sniper II line ends with the GM Sniper III, which by the time gameplay shifts to the Grypps War is obsolete. Meanwhile, the GM can be devloped into the GM II, then the GM III and finally the Jegan line.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Link from A Link to the Past is canonically after Ocarina of Time Link. He's in the Downfall Timeline, created if the Hero of Time were to fail his quest, and fall to Ganondorf's forces. That said, despite facing a Ganon controlling the entire Triforce, and that's after killing one of his predecessors, he roasts Ganon like the pig he is.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Commander Shepard succeeds where Captain/Admiral Anderson failed, not only in becoming the first Human Spectre, but also in successfully stopping the anti-human Saren from potentially destroying humanity and more importantly stopping his attempt to bring about the Reaper invasion.
    • Garrus Vakarian's father is a famed Citadel Security officer with ties to the Turian Primarch, hinting at a very illustrious career. Garrus himself not only advises the new Primarch but is also on the frontlines fighting the Reapers and forging peace with races throughout the galaxy.
    • Tali'Zorah can potentially take her father's place on the Admiralty Board and bring about his dream of taking back Rannoch, the Quarian homeworld.
    • Krogan in general are all about this. Urdnot Wrex can potentially surpass his father, a high-ranking but bloodthirsty warlord, and unify the Krogan into a single, peaceful, but still bloodthirsty people if he survives Virmire and receives Shepard's support in the Genophage cure.
    • Aria T'Loak took Omega from her predecessor and transformed it from a generic Wretched Hive into the de-facto capital of the Terminus Systems.
    • Matriarch Benezia was a powerful biotic and politician. Matriarch Aethyta is just as powerful a biotic and well-connected enough to go undercover on behalf of the council of Matriarchs. Their daughter, Liara T'soni, at just over 100-years-old (her parents were reaching 1000), is also a powerful biotic, is the foremost expert on Protheans in the galaxy, and becomes the Shadow Broker, the head of a powerful and secretive organization of information brokers and spies.
    • Ashley Williams' grandfather was forced to surrender to the Turians invaders during the First Contact War. As a result, everyone in the Williams family was essentially blacklisted by the military, and she and her father were denied promotions, on top of being given terrible assignments and postings despite their impressive records, simply because they shared his name. She eventually breaks the family stigma after serving with distinction alongside Shepard. Taken even further if she survived Virmire, where not only does she become a high-ranking officer in the Navy, but she can also potentially become the second Human Spectre after Shepard.
    • Zig-zagged with the current cycle and their Precursors. In many ways, the current galactic civilization is less advanced. In others, however, they have major advantages. This generation (thanks largely to Shepard) is the one that finally completes the Crucible. Especially since the current cycle was supposed to have ended some time ago, but a pocket of surviving Protheans managed to sabotage the Reapers' Plan A after the demise of their cycle.
  • Mega Man: X was designed to be this by Dr. Light for his "older brother" Rock, being the culmination of all of Light's work on robotics and the attempts to make them "human." Indeed, contrary to how most robots, even Rock, were Three Laws-Compliant (until Dr. Wily naturally reprogrammed them), X has an entirely human mindset and the ability to make rational decisions based on his own personal choices, and his unearthing a century latter and study by the hands of Dr. Cain would result in the creation of the Reploid race.
  • Metal Gear: Big Boss gets his name by defeating his mentor, The Boss, only to be defeated later by the next man to bear his original codename — Snake.
  • Radiant Arc: Irin states Linky has more potential than the previous Radiant Arc. This is because Linky is born of an angel and a human while the previous Radiant Arc was a normal human who was converted into a nephilim, allowing him to unlock more angelic power.
  • Rave Heart: Despite Ellemine's worries about how worthy she is in succeeding her father Arcturo, she did manage to unite the majority of Xerxes's factions against Niredia while he had a hard time finding allies for the second and third Xerian wars. Arcturo himself acknowledges her potential as a leader for forming these alliances.
  • In Sonic Unleashed, Werehog Sonic battles Dr. Eggman in one stage against the mad scientist's Egg Dragoon machine, which he boasts to be just the prototype and that the real thing would be even stronger. You never see the completed Egg Dragoon in the game and it's never said if the one Sonic fights in Sonic Generations is the fabled completed Egg Dragoon.
  • Tekken: Kunimitsu II eventually surpassed her mother in ninjutsu which is why this Kuni is stronger and more viable than past iterations of the character gameplay-wise.
  • Wizard101: It's implied that the Player Character is this towards Merle Ambrose by the time of Arc 3. Ambrose is considered one of the most powerful wizards to have ever existed, but he outright admits that the Player has accomplished feats even he couldn't achieve, such as becoming Bartleby's Scion.
  • Xenogears: Each of Fei's past incarnations were unable to prevent the Cycle of Hurting that claimed their loved ones, until Fei is able to destroy Deus, freeing himself and Elhaym from the cycle of death and reincarnation.

    Web Animation 
  • Happens in Season 15 of Red vs. Blue. It is revealed that another group of Simulation Troopers with similar personalities to the Reds and Blues, called the Blues and Reds, were around long before the main characters were. Project Freelancer saved their info due to how long they were in deadlock, and used it to create the Blood Gulch Crew. When the two teams meet in the Present, the Reds and Blues have become True Companions due to having been through so much together while most of the Blues and Reds have become jaded and bitter villains due to holding a grudge against the UNSC for selling them to Project Freelancer.
  • RWBY: Team RWBY is considered one of Beacon Academy's elite teams. Raven reveals that, in her day, Beacon's elite team was Team STRQ, which contained the parents (Summer Rose, Taiyang Xiao Long and Raven Branwen) and uncle (Qrow Branwen) of two of Team RWBY's members (half-sisters Ruby Rose and Yang Xiao Long). In Volume 6, when Jaune's sister-in-law asks if it's okay for a licensed Huntsman to be working with unlicensed students, Qrow tells her that both Teams RWBY and JNPR are better than his team was at their age.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender and it's sequel series The Legend of Korra has a good number of them:
    • Avatar Aang is able to bring balance to the world where his predecessor Roku could not.
      • Aang also managed to surpass the other previous Avatars after gaining and learning Energybending from the Lion Turtle.
    • Prince Zuko is able to bring the Fire Nation to peace rather than imperialism as Firelord, which even his Cool Uncle Iroh was doubtful about pulling off.
    • A villainous example with Princess Azula. For 100 years Firelords and Firelords-to-be have attempted to break through the walls of Ba Sing Se, but Azula was the first to achieve it. With only two Fire Nation infiltrators backing her up no less!
    • Subverted by Lin and Suyin, Toph Beifong's daughters. Despite the first leading a metalbending police force and the second an entire city of metalbenders, Toph says they never quite got the hang of it to explain Korra still having mercury in her blood. Of course, comparing anyone's earthbending skill to Toph's is distinctly unfair — Toph may very well be the greatest earthbender to have ever lived, and even into her old age, she is well above every other earthbender on the planet.
    • Zuko's grandson, Iroh II, can generate lightning which he was always too Hot-Blooded to do.
    • While Avatar Korra still has a lot of work to do to match Aang's legacy, she did surpass him in a number of ways, such as learning a more effective method of Spiritbending in Season 2 and being the first Avatar to learn Metalbending in Season 3.
  • The titular kaiju of Godzilla: The Series is significantly more powerful than his father from the 1998 movie — while the latter was killed by a few missiles, Jr.'s skin is effectively indestructible to conventional weapons, and he also has full-blown atomic breath instead of the gust of hot air that was all that his father could muster. In one episode, he even fights a reanimated cyborg version of his father, who has been upgraded with robotic components and weapons by aliens and defeats him.
  • In The Owl House, Luz Noceda far surpasses Philip Whittebane/Emperor Belos when it comes to talent with glyph magic. He might outstrip her in terms of sheer might and skill due to having centuries of practice, but it took him years to hunt down all the basic glyphs and start constructing combos. She on the other hand managed to do all of that in a matter of months (and he technically didn't even find all the basic glyphs, she had to show him the last one via a Stable Time Loop). There is at least some level of justification for this, as it's implied that the Titan is subtly hindering him and aiding her.
  • Rick and Morty: Morty Smith is this to both his father and grandfather. With Morty having the spine his father Jerry Smith lacks and the morality, however damaged, that his grandfather Rick Sanchez lacks.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Steven Quartz Universe is this to his mother, Rose Quartz and by extension her alter ego, Pink Diamond. While Rose was a compassionate leader, who was repeatedly described as seeing beauty in everything, her Fatal Flaw was keeping secrets from those she held dear, even when saying the truth could've prevented a lot of problems for her. Steven, however, isn't afraid to be honest with his emotions, mostly because of the Crystal Gems keeping secrets from him about his mother. She also struggled a bit when it came to displaying actual empathy for others, with her compassion stemming more from curiosity about how others live; in contrast, Steven is legitimately empathetic to the needs of others and is always worried about their emotional well-being.
      • Steven is also unique as a Half-Human Hybrid, meaning he can fuse with both gems and humans, doing so with his human friend/Love Interest Connie and his father Greg.
      • Also, Steven’s human nature allows him to achieve something that most full gems never could. Change. In a paltry 14 years, Steven managed to hone the powers of Rose Quartz’s gem to the point that he could surpass anyone in the empire.
  • The Venture Brothers: Zig-zagged as both of Dr. Jonas Venture Sr.'s sons are this towards him in different ways, even if he still has the better reputation in-universe.
    • Outwardly, Rusty is a cynical, jaded, massive failure in comparison to his father. however, he's A Lighter Shade of Black at his worst when compared to Jonas Sr. who was an amoral, narcissistic, sociopath that cared for no-one and, at best, saw others as tools/entertainment or, worse, subjects for his experiments. Rusty is no saint but he's got way more heart than his father ever did and is surrounded by friends and family that care deeply for him with Rusty admitting he cares for them too.
    • Jonas Jr. is basically a miniature Jonas Sr. with a conscience, ideals, and discipline when it comes to inventing and usually finishes what he starts. Like Jonas Sr., Jonas Jr. is also a ladies man but is chivalrous and unlike his father wasn't trying to just get in their pants but truly cared about them and was interested in them as people.