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Uniqueness Decay

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Kingdom Hearts: Only The Hero has a Keyblade, and it's a really big deal.
Kingdom Hearts II: The Hero and his True Companions all have Keyblades.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: The climax takes place in a literal graveyard of Keyblades.

"Pshh. Everyone's a Saiyan nowadays. What have I been missing? Heh! And they're all SUPER Saiyan, too! Some legend! Gah! Now I'm the weakest one! Me, a mid-level warrior! Well, screw that! If everyone can go super, I say it's not super at all!"

In many series, something or someone is first introduced as special — new, awe-inspiring, mysterious, utterly unique, unparalleled, or some combination of those things. Sometimes, either later in the series or in related works in shared universes, that specialness seems to fade without much explanation or get outright retconned away. The unique example becomes just one of many, the mystery somehow gets thoroughly documented, the new arrival turns out to have a long history in the area, the unparalleled turns out to be a footnote, and the awe becomes... meh.

Can be a form of Continuity Drift, perhaps sometimes due to careless research on Long-Runners. But Tropes Are Not Bad; it can also be justified if enough time passes and the once unique aspect is spread due to analysis/teaching/reverse engineering. Indeed, writers often do this on purpose. This trope may overlap with So Last Season. In a way, it adds fuel to the fandom who like making their own Sailor Earth.

Examples include:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The acquisition of Dragon Balls becomes increasingly trivial as the series goes on. While they were meant to be brought together only after a lifetime of searching by a very dedicated person, Bulma's Dragon Radar allows the heroes to collect them all within the span of a single story arc in the original Dragon Ball. Later sagas often have them acquired within the span of a single episode or even offscreen so that the heroes can deal with or clean up after the Big Bad du jour. Dragon Ball Z introduces a second set of Dragon Balls on the planet Namek, which follow a similar progression, while Dragon Ball GT adds a third set of Dragon Balls — the Black Star Dragon Balls — but scatters them across the entire galaxy and blows up the Earth if they're not brought back within a year. Then Dragon Ball Super introduced the Super Dragon Balls which are supposed to be the original set that created the Namekian Dragon Balls and they can grant any wish. They're much more difficult to gather since they're the size of planets and spread out across two entire universes. This was even Lampshaded in GT with the Shadow Dragons, which are created from the buildup of negative energy in the Dragon Balls: it's explained that they were supposed to lay dormant for decades in between wishes so that energy could dissipate naturally, but the heroes using them over and over in such a short span of time prevented that from happening.
    • From the same series is the Super Saiyan. Goku used to be the only one in existence. By the Buu saga, Vegeta's son Trunks and Goku's second son Goten could use the transformation before the age of ten without even being taught, and there were three different levels of transformation. The former was mercilessly lampshaded by Vegeta; the irony of it is that Vegeta himself caused the trend by also becoming a Super Saiyan. It really says something when Frieza, who initially feared the transformation so much he wiped out the Saiyans for it, was more surprised in Dragon Ball Super: Broly that Broly can't go Super Saiyan at first. However, this only really holds true for a normal Super Saiyan, as each level has fewer people having access to it. Super Saiyan 2 is only used by Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Future Trunks, Caulifla, and Cabba, the latter two hailing from Universe 6. Super Saiyan 3 is only gained by Goku and Gotenks. Only Goku ever becomes a Super Saiyan God — unless you count Vegeta in the manga and Dragon Ball Super: Broly — and Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan/Super Saiyan Blue is currently exclusive to Goku and Vegeta. Vegeta also gets his own "evolved" form of Super Saiyan Blue during the Tournament of Power, though it's an anime-exclusive form and does not appear in the Broly film (which is set after the Universe Survival arc).
    • There's also the idea of Frieza as the most powerful being in the universe. For a time the show found ways to Hand Wave the increasingly powerful foes Goku had to face after him. The Androids and Cell didn't exist yet when Frieza was alive. The warriors Goku faced in the afterlife a) were dead and thus not counted against Frieza's claim of strongest IN the Universe, and b) had been training for thousands of years. The claim gets a bit shakier in the Buu Saga. Majin Buu had been sealed for so long that it's likely Frieza was simply unaware of him, but many of Babidi's henchmen, Dabura especially, seem likely to have been at least as strong as Frieza (although we don't have confirmed power levels for them and in Dabura's case he comes from a parallel world in the shadows of Earth). With the introduction of Beerus in Battle of Gods, who is well-known enough for Vegeta to be terrified of him, Frieza's claim seems downright delusional. Resurrection 'F' addresses this by having Frieza privately admit that he was warned to absolutely never try to fight either Buu or Beerus by his father, so his claim of being the "strongest in the universe" was likely propaganda from the beginning. Either that or what was meant was he was the strongest mortal being in the universe. During the movie, he also reveals that he was never even trying to improve his abilities, and when he does, he actually reclaims his title as strongest (mortal) fighter in the universe, although he still fears Beerus.
    • The Kamehameha was originally introduced as the ultimate ki technique of the Muten Roshi, one of such complexity that it took him fifty years to perfect it. Goku does it on his first try, and it becomes his Signature Move. By the 22nd tournament, Yamcha reveals he learned, and mastered it, and Krillin learns and masters it as well a few chapters/episodes. Later Goku's own children master it even earlier.
  • In the first season of Code Geass the Hadron Cannon was an experimental weapon capable of destroying a small army, and only the Knightmare Frame Gawain had it; at the same time, it was one of only three Knightmares with the ability to fly. By the second season there had been a one year Time Skip, however, and suddenly a bunch of Knightmares had Hadron Cannons equipped, and by the end there were barely any Knightmares that couldn't fly. Takes a turn for the bizarre in the finale, when one of the Knightmares flying around is clearly a Portman (a dedicated Knightmare submarine).
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The Stand Bow and its Arrows allowed several Ordinary High School Students, prison inmates, the Mafia and many others to acquire Stands where they wouldn't have otherwise. The Arrows had the limitation of killing anyone without the spiritual strength necessary to control a Stand, but Josuke of Part 4 got around this in one case by healing a dying boy after he was pricked by an Arrow.
    • Part 6 introduces a guy who can grant and remove Stands on others, allowing even people without much "spiritual strength" to have Stands (such as a highly depressed man and a group of plankton.)
  • Space Battleship Yamato:
    • The original Wave-Motion Gun was unique to the Yamato itself, though their enemies had rough equivalents to it in the first series (like the Dessler Gun). From the second series onward, Wave Motion technology would spread to the rest of the Cosmo Navy.
    • Subverted in the remake Space Battleship Yamato 2199, where the Dessler Cannon was still the only thing even close to matching the Wave-Motion Gun in sheer destructive potential. Then played immediately straight in the follow-up Space Battleship Yamato 2202, where every Cosmo Navy warship had some kind of Wave-Motion Gun mounted on its bow.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: You stole a giant robot, making you the most dangerous humans on the planet? Good idea; now we've all done the same in imitation! What, now you've learned to combine them and wield superhuman power? We'll all start doing that too!
  • Digimon Adventure:
    • The eight Chosen Children were the only people with Digivices and Digimon partners. It appears now that, in Digimon Adventure 02, there are hundreds, or maybe thousands of chosen children all over the world, each with a Digivice and a Digimon partner. Of course, in the end, everyone in the world has a Digimon partner.
    • In the franchise as a whole, a certain mon will be introduced as having developed under special circumstances. They'll be a regular part of the universe in other, unrelated series, though. For example, Armor Digivolving in Digimon Adventure 02 is an ancient method that the new Big Bad, Ken, can't shut down with his Control Spires because, well, a virus made to take out a computer using Windows 8 probably wouldn't work on a TRS-80. The only Armor Digimon are the armor forms of our heroes. Not so the later series, where Armors are everywhere. In Digimon Tamers, Guilmon was created from scratch by Takato. No others exist and his Digimon Analyzer sequence basically amounts to "huh? What do you mean, 'no data?'" Digimon Frontier has forms of Guilmon as Digimon elementary school students.
    • Also, Mons of the main ones' races are rare within their series but not outside of it. Unlike Armors or Guilmon, there's no in-universe reason why we don't see any other Gomamon in the series where one is a main character... but we don't. However, there's a whole tribe of them in Frontier. Out of universe, it's probably because One-Steve Limit is in effect.
    • Then there's Mega Digimon in general. In Adventure, the stage before Mega is considered fully evolved. Megas always happened through special circumstances; Venom Myotismon had a prophecy going for him (and having his bats eat the data of all his minions and infuse him with it helped.) Metal Etemon had fallen into and absorbed the entirety of the Dark Network, Saber Leomon had been exposed to a metric buttload of Digivice energy. Then there's the Big Bad quartet that's the Evil Counterpart of The Four Gods, the heroes' Digivice-induced Mega forms, and The Four Gods themselves. Your average joe will probably never be a Mega; Ultimate is fully evolved and Mega happens through either help or basically being a god. But outside the Adventure-verse, civilian Megas are quite common, and all the heroes getting to go Mega is expected.
  • Gundam:
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the show starts with only fivenote  GN Drives in the whole world; later on, three new Gundams pop-up with imperfect Drives, and later still each of the three global superpowers is handed 10 such Drives. After a four-year Time Skip, The Federation is mass-producing the imperfect Drives, while the heroes still have the five they started with and any support machines have to piggy-back off of them by using particle storage tanks. At the end of The Movie, we see that 50 years later, mankind will be able to produce the true GN Drives.
    • In the original Mobile Suit Gundam, the Gundam itself is suggested to be a unique unit. Sure, the mass-produced GMs are the same design, but they look different enough to keep the Gundam special. Later UC continuity side stories, OVAs, and video games have introduced as many as twenty other Gundams running around during the One Year War, though none of them achieve the same level of notoriety. This is given some explanation later: Gundam-class Mobile Suits are much more expensive to produce than GMs, given that their specs are so much greater than standard GMs'; they're treated much the same way as F-14 Tomcats were, and given only to aces. This is demonstrated in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, where Delta-Plus-type (based on the Delta Gundam, the scrapped concept that would become the Hyaku Shiki from Zeta Gundam) and Zeta-Plus-type Gundam Class Mobile Suits are seen as non-unique mobile suits, but are still far fewer than the standard-issue current-generation GM models.
    • In the Universal Century canon, there's also the expanded use of beam weaponry. The Gundam and Guncannon were noted to be the first suits to use beam rifles, giving them the same combat power as a battleship. Zeon wouldn't catch up until near the very end of the One Year War with the Gelgoog and the Federation would have the weaker Beam Spray Guns for their GMs. In the side stories and such between Mobile Suit Gundam and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, most mass-produced suits would keep using solid weaponry, but would fully change to beam weaponry come the events of Zeta.
  • Bleach: The first Menos Grande that is introduced is described by Rukia as being a Hollow so powerful that only the Royal Guard can fight them. However, she admits at the time that she's never encountered one before and her knowledge comes from a school text book. It's eventually revealed that there are three levels to a Menos Grande, the lowest rank having been the first introduced. The top level Shinigami (captains, lieutenants and lower ranked officers who have been acknowledged in-universe as being as powerful as lieutenants) can fight Gillian and Adjuchas ranks easily enough, but the Vasto Lorde rank is so powerful, even a captain will struggle to win.
  • One Piece]]: This happened to both Devil Fruits and Haki.
    • Throuhgout East Blue, Devil Fruit users were exceedngly rare, and you could probaby count the number of Devil Fruit users encountered by the Straw Hats on one hand, and Luffy was the only memeber of the Straw Hats to have Devil Fruit powers. Once they entered the Grand Line, the number of Devil Fruit users skyrocketed, to the point that ot became noteworthy when a major enemy didn't have Devil Fruit powers, and Luffy went from being the only Devil Fruit user on the crew to being one of four, the other three (Chopper, Robin, and Brook) having joined in the Grand Line.
    • Haki was unheard of in East Blue and extremely rare in the Paradise half of the Grand Line. And, once again, Luffy was the only member of the Straw Hats who could use Haki. Following his two years of training during the Time Skip, and the crew entereng the New World, Haki became extremely commonplace. All major antagonists, and nearly all of the Straw Hat's allies, are capable of using at least one type of Haki, and half of the Straw Hats are capable of using at least one type of Haki.
  • Pokémon:
    • In early seasons, Legendary and Mythical Pokémon could not be truly caught and controlled by anyone, and appeared only in important episodes and movies. They were also nearly invulnerable, and were Physical Gods on one level or another. Later seasons have them appear in filler episodes and tamed by trainers (even Ash himself caught a Meltan in the Sun & Moon series), as well as having them frequently sent into battle and getting defeated like other Pokémon. In addition, what were once implied to be Single Specimen Species had multiple specimens appear (even if it made no logical sense), which were almost always weaker/less impressive than the one that first appeared (usually by having Pokémon Speak as opposed to telepathy). Compare Shaymin's handling in Giratina and the Sky Warrior to the one owned by Mallow in the Sun and Moon series for example, or Lucario'snote  ongoing depiction since Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.
    • In a similar vein, there's Pokémon who can use telepathy to talk. For the first few movies, it was restricted to powerful Psychic type Olympus Mons like Mewtwo and Lugia (as well as an illusionary Entei). As the films went on, however, telepathy became dime a dozen among Pokémon that needed to speak for plot convenience, even those that weren't Psychic or Olympus Mons. It eventually reached a head towards the end of the Best Wishes movies, which had no less than FIVE Pokémon with the ability.
    • Team Rocket's Meowth being able to stand on two legs was very unusual. Meowth are strictly quadrupedal... Or at least they were at the start of the series. In the games they have always been bipedal in their sprites however their stance implied they were not used to being bipedal, much like a real cat trying to balance on their hindlegs. As time went on they've been designed as completely bipedal and walk perfectly fine on their hindlegs. This means that Meowth's backstory about being a Meowth who trained himself to walk on two-legs isn't quite unique anymore. Meowth rarely appear in the anime so this isn't too noticeable, though Tyson's Meowth from Hoenn was shown to inexplicably walk on two legs without anyone questioning it and no one comments on the Alolan Meowth being bipedal either.
    • When introduced, Togepi was a very rare Pokémon and its line was all-but unheard of. It stayed this way for years, but over time its rarity has decreased. An AG two-parter featured a small kingdom that revered Togepi, with dozens appearing there. DP had a filler villain be an evil Togepi, while the line's final evolution Togekiss was given to Dawn near the end of the series (a commonality in part because in the games Cynthia gives the protagonist a Togepi egg) without much fanfare.
    • In the games, each region has eight Gym Leaders and they're among the best of the best trainers. The anime waters this down a bit by showing that more Leaders exist beyond these eight. The position of "Gym Leader" is not quite as rare and exclusive as it is in the games.
  • The Red Ranger Becomes an Adventurer in Another World: At the crux of Rosie's Green-Eyed Monster behavior toward Red is his lack of magical power. The only real qualification to wield the Royal Sacred Sword is the lack of it, and Rosie is terrified of being replaced as the hero and going back to his lonely, miserable existence when Red, another powerful warrior without magic, shows up out of the blue and grows close to Teltina.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In the early days, the Blue-Eyes White Dragon (a 3000 ATK Normal Monster) was stated to be so rare and powerful that only four were ever printed, and one of them was destroyed so it couldn't be used against the wielder of the other three. By Duelist Kingdom, we see Chaos Soldier (equal in strength to Blue-Eyes) and Black Daemon's Dragon (slightly stronger), though both had specialized requirements and Blue-Eyes didn't. By Battle City, two Elite Mooks were using Masked Beast and Masked Beast Death Guardius, both of which were stronger, Haga had Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth, Yugi had Valkyrion, and so on. By the time Yu-Gi-Oh! GX rolled around, just about everybody had a card that was at least as strong as Blue-Eyes, often with some kind of special ability. Blue-Eyes herself remains unique, being the strongest Normal Monster, but she's hardly anything that would be banned from the game.
    • Extra Deck methods have also become increasingly more common. In the original manga, only a few characters (Yugi, Kaiba, Jounouchi, Pegasus, Marik) used Fusion, and it was never their primary strategy. In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Fusion Summoning became a lot more common, and the primary strategy for some characters, but there were still plenty of people who didn't use it, several of whom were main characters. In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, Synchro Summoning was used by every single main character and most of the important ones, but there were still a good number of characters, mostly one-off villains, who didn't use it. In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, a grand total of four characters (three of whom were using the same deck and all of whom used Fusion anyway) didn't use Xyz Summoning, and everyone else and their dog (quite literally, in at least one case) used it as their primary strategy. Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V actually takes a step back by declaring Extra Deck methods to be quite rare, limiting it to characters connected to LDS or to the various other dimensions (which, granted, is most of the main characters again).
    • In ARC-V, it is actually a plot point that Reiji studies Pendulum Cards (cards unique to only Yuya) so he can mass-produce them. The Battle Royale features Pendulum Cards that litter the entire city, and by the next arc, many of the main characters received Pendulum Monsters. Part of Yuya's early character development is that he should not feel special for having Pendulum Cards and that it was a matter of time until more of them become available to the public and that he should accept it when it comes.
    • VRAINS established that every Duelist has Skills, and Playmaker is the only one to have the Skill "Storm Access", a skill that gets him new Extra Deck monsters in the middle of a Speed Duel. Then Revolver gets the same skill for some reason. Come Season 2, Storm Access becomes so prevalent, that one starts to expect everyone to just use it.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Played straight with "Adult Mode". When first introduced in StrikerS it appeared to be something that was unique to Vivio as a result of being a clone of the Sankt Kaiser. Then ViVid introduced three other characters who could do so, and while two of them also had connections to Ancient Belka, the third has no such legacy. By the time of ViVid Strike!, it seems like every fighter that hasn't finished puberty uses it.
    • Inverted with Flight. For the first two seasons, the ability to fly appeared to be a rather standard skill for mages to have. Then StrikerS showed that being able to fly was actually really rare (only a few of the new characters can do so and none of them are protagonists). ViVid only had one, ViVid Strike! didn't introduce any.
  • Originally Nate from Yo-Kai Watch was The Chosen One and the only human besides his grandfather Nathaniel to own a Yo-kai Watch. By the Spin-Offspring series Yo-kai Watch: Shadowside, it turns out that humans have been using Yo-kai Watches for tens of thousands of years.
  • Zoids has a habit of introducing new Zoids that are described as unique, top-of-the-line, and nigh-unstoppable, only for the next series to show entire groups of them, often falling prey to whatever new Zoids are introduced in that series.
    • In Zoids: Chaotic Century, the Lightning Saix was a Super Prototype that only Irvine was capable of piloting, and even then, only when he uploaded the combat data from his old Command Wolf, essentially making it an upgrade to that Zoid. In New Century, there exists a team of three Lightning Saixes.
    • Also in Chaotic Century, the Geno Saurer was a scaled-down version of the Death Saurer, a Lost Superweapon of a Zoid and one of the few Zoids not to fall victim to The Worf Effect in later series. Several groups of Geno Saurers show up in New Century and Fuzors and are effortlessly defeated.
  • Nen abilities in Hunter × Hunter were introduced as extremely rare powers that fell under the preview of the Hunters Association and a few others. Over time, the number of non-hunters who could use Nen increased and membership in the Hunters Association became less special. This is especially noticeable in the Greed Island and Chimera Ant arcs. The former features an entire competition of Nen users, most of whom are nothing special and the latter features an invasive species that can learn to use Nen more quickly and easily than humans.
  • This is serially done over the course of Medaka Box. At the start, the world is relatively normal, with only Medaka having superhuman skill in everything, while the rest of her classmates having the same ability as typical teenagers. After about a dozen wacky anecdotes, we are introduced to the first foe who doesn't submit to Medaka's Easy Evangelism: a ten-year-old upperclassman with incredible skill with superballs and a nihilistic streak, stated to be on Medaka's level, and who Medaka needs to enter War God Mode for the first time in order to bring him down, destroying much of the school in the process. Then he reveals that there is a whole class of such students, called Abnormals, and that he is actually the weakest. Abnormals get more common, with it even being revealed that Medaka's brother has been one the whole time, each of which having one specific superpower. But then later, Minuses are introduced, whose powers aren't merely a human skill taken up a notch but can straight up alter reality, and whose personalities are so malignant that their abilities are completely immune to analysis or understanding by anyone else. Yet the arc isn't even finished before a character manages to create a Minus ability note  and the part about them being unable to be analyzed seems forgotten. During this time as well, Medaka's War God Mode gets an upgrade, and she starts using it more often, instead of as a last resort. Then in the arc after that, we start having characters with multiple Plus and Minus abilities, with this not treated as anything at all unusual, and one of them (Tsurubami) being at most a little eccentric, as well as characters who can bestow powers on other people. Even Zenkichi winds up getting a power, officially making it so that being an Abnormal is now the baseline, rather than something special. To top that off, after all that the Styles are introduced, which anyone can learn, and whose reality-warping abilities rival those of the Minuses. By the end of the series, it has gone from Like Reality, Unless Noted to Everyone Is a Super.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman was supposed to be the last of his kind, and kryptonite, the radioactive fragments of a planet that blew up lightyears away that didn't burn up in our atmosphere, was a rare commodity almost nobody had heard of. Throughout the Silver Age, a veritable rainbow of different sorts of kryptonite showed up, as did first Supergirl, then other survivors of Krypton. After the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot, Superman was once again the last Kryptonian and kryptonite one troublesome and very rare material. And then, after a few years, the other Kryptonians started showing up again, along with the wacky varieties of kryptonite. It has been joked by this point that the only Kryptonian to actually die was Jor-El. Also, while Superman was depowered substantially following Crisis on Infinite Earths, that nerfing has largely stuck.
  • In Daredevil, Matt Murdock's radar sense was originally a super power, the freak result of the accident that blinded him. Later, Frank Miller introduced a mentor character and revealed that anyone could learn to "see" without their eyes the way that Matt does.
  • Green Lantern:
    • In the original run, the Green Lantern Ring was a big deal. Just having it made an Earthling one of the most powerful beings in-continuity. Then Continuity Drift happened, and there were hundreds of Green Lanterns, and calling the human who had one "The Green Lantern" seemed rather silly. Then, there were several humans who had one, at the same time, in direct conflict with the established distribution method. Then we found out that there were other Lantern Corps of various colors. Slowly, the Ring was necessary to be even marginally effective in related conflicts, and some characters who have them still can't hold their own.
    • Hal's joining the Green Lantern Corps is treated in some stories as ground-breaking, with him being the first human to join them... until the stories that ret-conned this so that Hal wasn't the first, with an American frontiersman named Waverly Sire having been inducted during the 1800s.
  • A common complaint about the Darker and Edgier treatment of previously lighthearted characters: Batman is cool, but that doesn't mean every character should be Batman.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Over the years, many other gamma-powered powerhouses have appeared to rival the Jade Giant, including She-Hulk, Doc Samson, The Abomination, Red Hulk, Red She-Hulk, A-Bomb, Skaar, Cosmic Hulk, and the Totally Awesome Hulk. You know, just to name a few. Worth noting, however, is that except for brief stints with The Worf Effect, the Hulk hasn't been unseated as World's Strongest Man by any of them, mostly due to his uniquely-unstable mentality, which gamma power feeds from.
  • The Mighty Thor: Since the introduction of Beta Ray Bill (back when it wasn't just impressive but downright shocking for somebody other than Thor to be "worthy"), many characters have been demonstrated to lift Mjölnir, with a few of them actually taking up the mantle of Thor for a time. The most established of these being Thunderstrike, followed by Jane Foster.
  • Spider-Man: Thanks to years of clones, alternate-reality versions, distaff counterparts, future children, and alternate-reality successors, the number of spider-themed characters has increased exponentially. Those still in publication by the year 2015 include: Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O'Hara), Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Madame Web (Julia Carpenter), Scarlet Spider (Kaine), Spider-Girl/Woman (May Parker), Spider-Girl (Aranya Corazon), Miles Morales, Silk (Cindy Moon), Spider-Gwen (Gwen Stacy), Spider Man India, Spider-Man Noir, Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius), Spider-Man UK, and Spider-Ham (Peter Porker). And that's not including any symbiote, nor all the other spider-people we saw running around in Spider-Verse.
  • The Flash:
    • Similar to Green Lantern noted above, when Jay Garrick was first introduced it was kind of novel to have a character with simple Super Speed as their only power, though this lead to a Fountain of Expies with Quicksilver (Quality Comics', who was later acquired by DC) and Johnny Quick introduced before the Golden Age was up. Then comes the Silver Age and we get Legacy Character Barry Allen, and his nephew/protege Wally West, and after a short while Jay is reintroduced. After COIE Wally became The Flash, and during his time many other speedsters were introduced too. This was actually taken advantage of, as after the aforementioned Golden Age speedsters were revived and reintroduced (renaming Quicksilver to Max Mercury to avoid confusion with the Marvel character), as well as having Johnny's daughter Jesse introduced, the older figures began mentoring Wally, Jesse, and Bart (Barry's grandson from the future), creating a 'Flash Family'. As the group have diverse personalities, and different strengths and weaknesses, this actually worked amazingly for creating a super-team who all have the same basic power but still feel individually unique and interesting.
    • The act of leaving the Speed Force has become this. Mark Waid, who introduced the Speed Force, had it so Wally West is the first person to ever leave it because of his love for Linda Park. However, he establishes that it's a near-impossible thing to do, and that a being can't exist in the Speed Force for too long without just merging with it. Wally does it one more time in Waid's run, when he gets stuck in the Speed Force after Abra Kadabra retcons Linda from existence and, again, he's forced to go too fast. Being in the Speed Force, which spans multiple realities, allowed Wally to see what had happened and he appears to Linda again in the alternate reality she became stranded in. That's it. Then Geoff Johns came along, and being "lost to the Speed Force" keeps everyone perfectly intact, so we have Barry Allen popping out of it to help Bart Allen after 20 years of being stuck inside it. Johns' JSA run had the Rival, a speedster last seen in the 40s, somehow escape it without explanation. In Johns' Legion of Three Worlds, Brainiac 5 is somehow able to bring Bart back, and his personality and body are intact. Later, in Johns' The Flash: Rebirth, we see that Max Mercury and Johnny Quick, lost to the Speed Force over a decade earlier, were also intact and Max was able to return by basically holding Barry's hand while Barry was holding Wally's, when Wally went in to pull Barry out. This is all a far cry from the huge threat of the Speed Force removing someone's individuality and the undying, true love required to escape it. He somewhat fixes things in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, where Wally is barely able to escape thanks to Barry's friendship... then Titans (Rebirth) by Dan Abnett has Wally lost to the Speed Force in its first arc and the only thing keeping him there is a hallucination of Linda Park, and he can leave it as soon as he wants to because of his friendship with the Titans. He does this again when his cousin goes into the Speed Force to save Deathstroke, managing to pull both out. Joshua Williamson later had it so that Jesse Quick and Max Mercury were revealed to be stuck in the Speed Force after the events of Flashpoint, and Barry just... pulls them out, despite them outright saying it shouldn't be possible. Shortly afterwards, during Dark Nights: Death Metal, the Flashes and their families were brought into it to protect them from the Batman Who Laughs, and the three are able to leave with no issue, and their loved ones apparently were fine in the Speed Force, to the point that how they left isn't even touched on. By this point, the Speed Force is basically where people go for a nap.
    • The entire concept of the Reverse-Flash, who are supposed to be the Evil Counterpart speedsters to whatever Flash they're fighting. The first, unofficial Reverse-Flash was Edward Clariss (the Rival), Evil Counterpart to Jay Garrick. Then when the Silver Age happened, second Flash Barry Allen was given an Evil Counterpart in Eobard Thawne, the first official Reverse-Flash. But by the time Wally West was the Flash, evil speedsters became commonplace, with villains like Speed Demon, Savitar, Lady Savitar and the Black Flash (kinda). Meanwhile, the younger Bart Allen got Thadeus Thawne (Inertia) as his pseudo-Reverse-Flash. While all but Inertia and the Black Flash (who wasn't so much a person as a force of nature and the embodiment of death, meaning he wasn't used much anyway) were done away with, and Geoff Johns gave Wally a true evil counterpart in the second official Reverse-Flash, Hunter Zolomon. He also introduced us to Hot Pursuit later on once Barry Allen returned. Post-Flashpoint, DC created more evil speedsters, first with the new Reverse-Flash (Daniel West) to fill in the vacancies left by Clariss, Thawne, Zolomon and Thadeus, more were later introduced. These include Future Flash (an alternate timeline Barry Allen), a new version of Eobard Thawne, Godspeed and Negative Flash. Because the number of evil speedsters now far surpasses that of the number of Reverse-Flashes, their place as the evil speedsters doesn't mean much, and it's other things that make them stand out — Eobard killed Iris West, then later Barry's mother which led to Flashpoint; while Hunter is established as being the fastest being in existence, and causing Linda Park's miscarriage.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) and the Echidna race. First, there was just Knuckles. Then, we're introduced to his uncle, the power-mad Enerjak, and learn that Knux's father, Locke, was alive. Then, there's Athair, a former Guardian-turned-mystic. Then, we're introduced to the Dark Legion right before Echidnaopolis reappears with an entire city of Echidnas. Then, we learn that Athair is leading an entire tribe of echidnas to a mystical city of Echidnas. Before the Time Skip, we had Echidnas coming out of the woodwork. The time skip culled them down and the Continuity Reboot reset it back to how it was.
    • In Sonic the Comic hedgehogs are spiky and brown. Sonic turned blue in the accident that was meant to measure his superspeed. Amy is pink furred but it wasn't initially explained why (though her fashion-savvy nature might suggest she dyes her fur). The 1998 story "Amy's Secret Past" finally gave a reason: years ago, Robotnik was building a machine to emulate Sonic's powers. Amy (already a tomboyish Freedom Fighter despite it being too early for that) caught wind of it and stopped him. Amy was thrown into the machine, which fused her quills and turned her pink.
  • In IDW's Transformers comics, when Nova Prime was first revealed to be evil, during Spotlight: Optimus Prime, this was a dramatic revelation, the notion that a Prime could be evil, that Optimus' forebears could've been corrupt. Then, some years down the line, Sentinel and Zeta Prime were also revealed to be corrupt and evil, with Optimus having known about this all along, and that Nova had directly instituted the systems that made pre-war Cybertron such a terrible place to live in the first place.
    • This claim is even more suspect with the introductions of Liege Maximo and Onyx Prime, the former of whom being "the Prime of Lies" and the latter revealed to actually be a time-displaced Shockwave.
    • Time travel became this over the course of the series. It first appeared as a complete oddity associated with one planet where time flowed out of order and time machines are introduced as a super rare find, with one character spending millions of years to develop one. Eventually, a specific area of space is introduced that makes time travel much easier and predictable.
    • The Transformers themselves fall into this. The Great War and the destruction of Cybertron are portrayed as especially catastrophic in this continuity, with number of remaining Cybertronians numbering around ten thousand. Then, Cybertron is healed and the neutrals come home dramatically increasing the population and then after that colony worlds from before the war are introduced which swell the ranks further.

    Fan Works 
  • Soul Eater: Troubled Souls: While this aspect is never seen as a big deal in the manga, the anime finale made it a point of interest that Maka is the child of a Meister and a Weapon. In this fic, several other characters with the same kind of parents are introduced note  . Likely because of that, the story goes the manga route and never brings it up.
  • In Tangled In Time, Ganondorf is no longer the only male Gerudo; a Castle Town boy, Fyrus is also one, born from a Gerudo migrant and a Hylian barkeeper. Justified that it has been fifty years since the events of Twilight Princess, giving enough time for another male to be born.
  • Lampshaded in Princess Trixie Sparkle. After finding out there's a fifth alicorn princess, Celestia and Luna's banished sister Astelle, Trixie rants about how being an alicorn isn't as special as she had thought.
  • Celestia and Luna are trying to invoke this in The Great Alicorn Hunt in order for the pair of them to live more normal lives instead of being simple rulers, with Twilight lampshading this trope only for Luna to shoot back that she wants it.
  • Invoked in Son of the Sannin. Becoming a Sage is normally very difficult since to even begin the training you need to have both signed an Animal Summoning Contract and abnormally high chakra levels. When Naruto figures out a way to bypass the first requirement, he immediately gathers up every powerful person he knows to begin giving them Sage training because it's such a useful skill.
  • Transcending Legends Rainbow Dash fears she will no longer be the only one who can pull off a Sonic Rainboom, Spitfire pulls one off in the final chapter.

    Films — Animation 
  • Inverted in Bambi. In the original book, all adult bucks are "kings of the forest". What makes the Old Great King of the Forest stand out is his old age and aloofness. In the Disney film, Bambi is treated as royalty and his father is the Great King of the Forest.
  • Discussed in The Incredibles. In an argument between Helen and Dash, Dash, who wants to try out for sports, says that Bob says that their superpowers make them special. Helen replies "Everyone's special, Dash", to which Dash snidely remarks "Which is another way of saying no one is." Later in the film, Syndrome reveals this to be the final step of his lifelong plan to get rid of superheroes: "And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll sell my inventions so that everyone can be superheroes. Everyone can be a super! And when everyone's super, no one will be."
  • The plot of Rio hinges on Blu being the last male blue Spix's Macaw. By the end of the movie, he has managed to mate with Jewel and produce three offspring, with Tiago being male. Then the sequel comes along, revealing that there is a lost flock of macaws hidden in the Amazon rainforest, with Jewel's father Eduardo among them.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Chaos Walking (2021), Viola's appearance on New World is treated as a huge deal because she's the first and only human woman on New World in nearly two decades, but also because she's the only human there who lacks Noise (which doesn't affect women) and so her thoughts are far more private (Noise is a kind of reverse-telepathy). About halfway through the movie it turns out that there's a whole town full of Noiseless women (which the trailer itself spoiled to an extent) so Viola’s presence isn't so big a deal, though she still has a bit of a unique factor in that she wasn't born or raised on New World and is the only one who can communicate with the colony ship.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Subverted in the Iron Man series. Though it gradually introduces a number of knock-off Iron Man suits, including Stane's giant version in the first film and Vanko's various suits in the second film, these are all inferior to Tony's designs. And even in the third film, where Stark himself has a virtual army of his own Iron Man suits zipping around without his direct control, he's the only one with control over them, and is most effective when piloting one himself. The only other people to get a complete Iron Man suit of their own are Tony's best friend Rhodey, who has his blessing to use the War Machine armor, and Tony's wife Pepper Potts, who received her Rescue armor from Tony as an anniversary gift. By the end of Phase 4, it's stated that tutorials of how to get your own Iron Man suit up and running can be seen on YouTube.
    • Played straight, however, in regards to the Asgardians of the Thor series in the wide Shared Universe. The Asgardians held the status of being the MCU's go-to Superior Species for the first Phase-and-a-half. Outside of that, it was largely oriented on humans, and no other race was considered as such importance as the Asgardians. The two Guardians films introduced other exceptionally-powerful alien species—in particular, the god-like Celestials. Phase 3 expanded the cosmic races further in Doctor Strange (2016), and with the reveal of the Kree and the Skrull in Captain Marvel (2019). Phase 4 and Phase 5 are set to introduce not not one, not two, but three additional superpowered races as important to the setting: Eternals, Vampires and Mutants. This effectively demotes the Asgardians from being the superpowered race, to just another one of several.
  • Star Wars: When Darth Maul was introduced, his double-bladed Lightsaber was a the first of its kind seen on-screen. It would go on to become commonplace in many future pieces of Star Wars media. Star Wars: The Clone Wars even had a character that dual-wielded double-bladed lightsabers (he has four hands).

  • Star Wars:
    • The rancor beast from Return of the Jedi was originally described in the novelization as a mysterious, possibly mutated creature: "The size of an elephant, it was somehow reptilian, somehow as unformed as a nightmare. Its huge screeching mouth was asymmetrical in its head, its fangs and claws set all out of proportion. It was clearly a mutant, and wild as all unreason." Nevertheless, due to rancors being awesome, they quickly proliferated through the Expanded Universe. Later the 1994 novel The Courtship of Princess Leia introduced the previously undiscovered planet of Dathomir, to which the rancors are native. And it turns out that Jabba's rancor in Return of the Jedi was actually a small example of the species. Dathomir itself then propagated in the EU, to the point that the 2004 novel Ruins of Dantooine included Dathomirian beasts, a common biologist with detailed knowledge of Dathomir's ecosystem, and other characters who'd apparently been to the planet ... 8 in-universe years before the planet became known beyond a small circle of individuals.
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn was initially presented as a member of an unknown species, established after 8 years OOU and 10 IU timeline years as the heretofore reclusive Chiss species from the Unknown Regions. After this, of course, Chiss proliferated in the EU, most recently and egregiously in the novel Darth Bane: Path of Destruction a full 1000 years before the species was supposed to have been known to the galaxy at large. In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Chiss are running around over 3,500 years before they're officially supposed to be known (although there was a galactic dark age shortly after this era so the records could have just been lost).
    • Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda were intended to be the last surviving Jedi from the old Jedi Order, period. Of course, it didn't take long for the Expanded Universe authors to start creating their own survivors who went into hiding or were mysteriously overlooked. Not to mention the hundreds of Sith all over the place.
    • Force Lightning. At first, it was a very rare power only the most veteran and skilled Sith had, which was a testament of their power. In the EU, either be books, comics or (especially) video games, every Sith (or just a Darksider) can use Force Lightning, and thus becoming so common that it replaced the Force Choke as the signature ability of the Dark Side. Taken to a ridiculous degree in some works where Jedi can use it was well. Luke himself uses a variant of it in New Jedi Order that is instantly lethal. This could mean that Force Lightning is something that any sufficiently powerful Force-user could wield, but the Jedi generally refuse to because it's basically made only to cause extreme pain.
    • This is actually discussed about the Sith in the Darth Bane trilogy of books. Bane realizes that having more than two Sith Lords at any one time spreads the dark side of the Force too thinly, and the Sith as a whole are weakened because the Sith crave power to the point that they're willing to jeopardize their plans for galactic domination just to get a leg up on their rivals and thus leave the Sith vulnerable. Given how many times Sith empires had collapsed for precisely this reason, Bane clearly had a point. The line of reasoning behind the Rule of Two (that there should only be one master and one apprentice) is that there is one Sith to embody power, and a second to crave it.
    • Specifically related to the Legends continuity:
      • Cortosis ore. Originally introduced as a rare mineral that was difficult to work with, impractical for armor (due to its weight and softness), and with the specific power to merely turn off lightsabers (and even then, they can cause it small amounts of damage), Cortosis was eventually woven (sorry) into the rest of the EU as part of something called "Cortosis weave", a process that allows weapons and armor to resist lightsabers. The Old Republic games in particular treat Cortosis as one of the most common materials in the universe, judging by how well standard swords and armor stand up against it.
      • This has led to fans joking that it's so rare by the time of the Galactic Civil War is because so much of it was used in the Old Republic time period.
      • The Kyber Crystal. Originally, the Kaiburr crystal was a single unique gem that could enhance one's connection to the Force. Eventually, someone made the connection that lightsabers have crystals, so why not take part of the Kaiburr crystal and make a lightsaber out of it? By the time of the reboot, "Kyber" had become a kind of crystal, one of many that was suitable for lightsaber construction. As of the new continuity, Kyber has become the kind of crystal that lightsabers (and, ultimately, the Death Star) are made with.
      • Hilarious example with Boba Fett. Due to Wolverine Publicity, he became a central character in Attack of the Clones. Unfortunately, the EU had gone to strenuous lengths to preserve his mystique up to that point, most notably in refusing to ever reveal or describe his physical appearance. Come Attack of the Clones, it turns out he has the most common face in the galaxy. Star Wars Infinities The Empire Strikes Back celebrated the occasion by having the first scene of an unmasked Boba Fett, with Lando walking into his office in Cloud City to find Fett with his helmet off and his feet up on Lando's desk.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the creation of a Polyjuice Potion is stated to be a very difficult and time consuming process, needing a full month to prepare. That Hermione managed to prepare it in her second year at Hogwarts is treated as something extraordinary. After the second book, however, the potion becomes one of the most commonly used potions throughout the series, playing a part in four of the seven books.
    • Throughout the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is told the difficulty of performing the Patronus Charm and it is implied only powerful/very skilled wizards can use the advanced spirit animal form. Yet many characters are shown with them, and by the end of the fifth book Harry has taught it to a bunch of his classmates. The power of the Patronus varied greatly between characters though. And Harry states when he's training his classmates that it's a lot harder to produce a Patronus when you're facing down a Dementor. This gets demonstrated in the seventh book.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
    • It is many times mentioned how few Greek half bloods there are, even before Luke starts recruiting them. Yet in the Heroes of Olympus series, a whole new Roman camp is revealed, with not only more demigods, but children of demigods, and children of children of demigods. Justified Trope, everyone who knew both camps all swore upon the river Styx to never speak of it and the Gods tried their hardest to keep them separated.
    • In The Lightning Thief, Percy being a son of Poseidon is a big deal, because Poseidon, Zeus, and Hades swore not to have anymore demigod children after World War II. While Zeus broke the pact first, his daughter Thalia is dead by the time the series begins... but she's brought back to life at the end of the second book, and the third book introduces Bianca and Nico di Angelo, two children of Hades that were born before the pact, but are still young because their father hid them in a time-warp. Bianca is promptly killed off, but the sequel series gives Thalia and Nico each a new sibling, bringing the total to five. Justified because the central plot of the story revolves around a prophecy concerning a child of Poseidon, Zeus, or Hades, and it would be really boring if Percy was automatically it. (He is it, but...)
    • At first, half bloods had to pray to their parent, or focus most of their energy to use powers like lightning bolts or huge waves. But by the final battle, Jason manages to summon a storm, and Leo enough fire, to defeat Gaia, without breaking a sweat.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Rand is the only character on the side of good who can Travel (create gateways to travel to other places instantly) during the fifth book. After he explains it to Egwene in the sixth book, she discovers the female version and teaches the Aes Sedai at Salidar. He also shows it to Mazrim Taim, who teaches the weave to the Asha'man.
  • Lifemating (the full-on Mindlink Mates type) is supposedly a rare thing to happen in the Liaden Universe, but roughly half the adult characters in Clan Korval have ended up with one by now.
  • Mentioned in Discworld: a mountain can thwart dozens of attempts by strong men to climb it, but once it's done little old ladies will take a stroll to the summit for tea, and then wander back afterwards to see where they'd left their glasses.
  • In Vampire Academy, Lissa and Rose are introduced as a rare spirit user and shadow-kissed pair. They have to figure out what they are and the nature of their powers through studying the lives of Medieval predecessors Saint Vladimir and Anna. As well as knowing an elder spirit user in teacher Sonya Karp. They are hinted to be the first spirit users in centuries. Later books introduce spirit users Adrian Ivashkov, Oksana, Avery Lazar, and Robert Doru. There are even some unnamed, insane spirit users incarcerated in Tarasov prison. Suddenly Lissa does not seem so unique anymore. And as for shadow-kissed characters there are Mark (Oksana's bondmate), Alden (Robert Doru's deceased bondmate) and Reed Lazar and Simon (Avery Lazar's bondmate). Making Rose less unique as well.
  • Honor Harrington sees the Star Kingdom of Manticore develop, over many years, completely game-changing weapons and tactics, like multi-drive missiles, Ghost Rider, LAC swarms that actually work and more, to win the war in a single hammering campaign, Operation Buttercup, as their unstoppable Eighth Fleet drives hard and fast for the Haven capitol planet. Five years later, everyone who's anyone has frantically worked to duplicate, counter or improve upon Manticore's superweapons. Which is admittedly realistic. Well, except the Solarian League.
  • Warrior Cats: The suffix "-heart" was originally one of the rarer ones out there and was only used for particularly kindhearted and brave cats. Over time, more and more cats have been named with it, making it lose its uniqueness.
  • Portrayed in-universe in the first Acorna Series novel: Acorna's three human guardians are trying to keep her out of the clutches of Hafiz Harakamian (The uncle of one of the guardians). Hafiz is a collecter of rare and unique items and sought to make Acorna the crown jewel of his collection. A desire that evaporates near the end of the book, when everyone finds out Acorna is a member of an alien race, not a one-of-a-kind mutant girl. Hafiz masks this by making a show of relinquishing his pursuits.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has a few examples, in the first book A Game of Thrones Catelyn Stark notes that there are no Weirwood Trees south of The Neck, which acts as a dividing line between the North and the rest of the continent. Then as the series continues one pops up at the incredibly southern Storm's End, the slightly closer but still south Harrenhall and even at Cat's former ""home"" castle of Riverrun. An oddly prosperous bit of rare Flora.
    • Similarly much is made of the North and House Stark in particular being the last that really has a connection to the First Men as the North was never conquered by the Andals. After a couple of books however every major house has some connection to First Men ancestors, and several minor southern houses show immense pride in their own connection.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Borg's first appearance was on Star Trek: The Next Generation as a mysterious, frighteningly advanced and implacable species from beyond known space. Then Voyager has a whole arc in which one Starfleet ship has to fight and/or sneak into Borg space solo, and succeeds. This does make sense, though; Starfleet learned some painful lessons from their initial run-ins with the Borg and were a lot better prepared in subsequent encounters. These subsequent Borg encounters also reveal that all growth in Borg abilities comes from assimilating the technology of others and directly experiencing their tactics. Innovation is simply beyond their ability; the Borg are purely reactive.
    • This also happened with warp core breaches. Originally introduced in the episode "Contagion", it was stated as an extremely unlikely occurrence due to the numerous fail-safe systems designed specifically to keep it from happening. Then the show's writers realized that a "warp core breach" was synonymous with "imminent danger", and they started happening with a depressing regularity, to the point that warp cores have an ejection system built into them. Apparently, all those fail-safe systems suddenly became useless — including the ejection system.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the early years we knew almost nothing about The Doctor's people - it was six years before we learned the name "Time Lords". From the Tom Baker serial The Deadly Assassin onwards, we began to learn more and actually visited Gallifrey. Over the next decade or so, more stories featuring the corrupt, self-interested and machiavellian Time Lords were made, to the point where many fans complained that too much was being explained and the mystery had gone. One of the objectives of the so-called "Cartmel Masterplan" was to reintroduce the mystery regarding the Doctor himself by retconning much of what we knew about him to be a lie and implying that he was a much more powerful figure than a "mere" Time Lord.note .
    • The new series managed to bring this back a bit, by having them all supposedly killed off. This means that for modern fans, any slight suggestion that there might be another one out there is incredibly exciting. They've since come back, had their return thwarted, been saved, lost, found, lost again, and then eventually wandered back on their own as of the end of series 9. Then Series 12 entirely undid all the decay by revealing that not only is the Doctor the lynchpin of Time Lord society, she is an entirely different species that we have not seen other members of.
  • Supernatural:
    • The introduction of the Devil's Trap at the end of Season One. Apparently Sam and Dean, two of the most experienced hunters out there, not to mention their father, didn't know about a magic chalk circle which could trap demons. As soon as Bobby uses it, suddenly everyone with even basic awareness of demons can make one, and it starts appearing everywhere as a primary security measure.
    • This also happened with demon-killing weapons. In the first couple seasons, the only thing known to be able to kill a demon was an enchanted Colt Revolver made by Samuel Colt under very special circumstances (it's mentioned that, among other things, it was crafted during the battle of the Alamo, and while Halley's Comet was overhead). It had only 13 bullets, 8 of which had already been used by the time the heroes got their hands on it, and once all the bullets were used the gun would be worthless. However, in season 3 the heroes figured out a way to make new bullets for the Colt, and also came into possession of a demon-killing knife. Then season 4 introduced angels, who can kill most demons just by touching them, as well as allowing Sam to kill them with his Psychic Powers. By season 8, it had been revealed the blades carried by angels could also kill demons, even when wielded by non-angelic beings. Cue just about every major character obtaining an angel blade offscreen. Then season 10 introduces the witch Rowena who invented the spell "Defigere Et Depurgare" that can easily liquefies demons.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • The Stargate is a wondrous piece of technology on which the fate of humanity rests when it is first found, only to become increasingly trivial as time goes on; by the end of SG-1, Earth had picked up a few dozen from uninhabited worlds to make a bridge between galaxies, then just left them there when the project fell through. They took one as a replacement when their gate blew up.
    • Stargate is full of this trope. Amazing and unique devices that wowed and shocked us three episodes ago are now commonplace. One of a kind cloaking devices? Now comes standard on every model. Fast hyperspace travel? Every little podunk space ship has got one. The list could go on. This is mostly justified in universe as Humans Are Special, or more specifically, the Tau'ri are special and every other culture is static, and that the whole point of the SG teams going out into the universe is to acquire tech, which sort of somehow ends up in the hands of everyone... This is good in the sense that Earth develops technologically over time, becoming something of a superpower, thereby avoiding the Reset Button plaguing many science fiction universes. On the other hand, it leads to massive power creep.
    • Stargate Universe has its own little odd twist: the Icarus base required the power of a planet with an ultra-super rare one of a kind naquadria core. One more was found by the Lucian Alliance, and it turned out that Jonas's homeworld was also a suitable candidate (understandably, they objected to a procedure that might blow up their planet). Mind you, naquadria, when first introduced, was explicitly an artificially-created variant of stable naquadah that only existed on Jonas's homeworld because the Goa'uld that invented it set up shop there. It is not supposed to be naturally occurring.
    • Ra was introduced in the movie as the Last of His Kind. Stargate SG-1 put the lie to this in the first episode.
  • Early on in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, there was only one thing that could kill a god: the blood of the Golden Hind. By the time both series ended, there seemed to be a new way to kill a god every week. One of them was an axe to the back thrown by a mortal woman.
  • In Volume 3 of Heroes, there was a Bad Future where a Super Serum had been industrialized and everyone has superpowers... even the terrorists.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "One girl in all the world, a Chosen One. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness." Over the course of the series, it was revealed that there are actually a lot of people fighting the forces of darkness. In addition to the Watcher's Council there were numerous ancient orders of both warriors and mystics, the United States government, independent unaffiliated demon hunters, even good demons.
    • Halfway through the second season a second slayer shows up; and then, in the finale, they cast a spell that allows thousands of girls across the world to become Slayers at once. It also turns out there was never any mechanical reason for the "one slayer" rule, it was just the wizards who first created the slayer line didn't think they could control more than one at a time.
    • Angel being the vampire with a soul also becomes less unique when Spike gets his soul back too. This also plays havoc on several prophecies that didn't specify which one. By extension, the ritual with the Orb of Thesulah was the only known way to restore a soul. Spike gets his soul back after completing trials from a powerful demon.
  • Once Upon a Time does this with the ability to travel between the worlds.
    • In the pilot there're apparently only two ways to travel from the Enchanted Forest to the real world: the Dark Curse casted by the Evil Queen and the magic wardrobe made from a magical tree that allows Emma and Pinocchio to escape. Then halfway the first season we learn that Rumplelstilskin's son fell into a portal created with a magic bean and landed in the real world. This supposedly explains why Rumple has been planning to cast the Curse for decades manipulating everyone in the process but it brings the question why didn't he just seek for another magic bean?. Later the series introduces new more conveniantly means to travel between the realms: Jefferson's hat (though this apparently can't reach the real world), Dorothy's silver slippers, a magic door and a wand created by the most powerful sorcerer. The white rabbit in the spin-off, the mermaids and the Author of the book also all have the ability to world cross at will.
    • Magic beans are an example of this as well. The first one we see is stated to be the last in the realm. Then this turns out to be wrong and they are now rare, but apparently not too difficult to find.
    • By the time Season 7 rolls around, copious amounts of world-hopping between Another Realm, the Wish Realm, the Enchanted Forest, Wonderland, and Oz is required to make any sense of the fantasy-world backstory, but it's become such a mundane ability that much of it is either unexplained or hand-waved.
    • Season 6 has multiple Saviours. Turns out that Saviours are people with a specific kind of magic power and there have been many in the past.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • The series starts with just Barry having Super Speed. Pretty quickly, the Reverse-Flash is introduced (in fact, he's, technically, shown in the pilot, but we don't know it's him and only see a vague fast-moving outline). Then from Season 2 Onwards, we're introduced to Zoom, Jay Garrick, Wally West, and Jesse Quick, and Savitar though he turns out to be an alternate future version of Barry himself. There's also Trajectory, a Villain of the Week who got her powers from taking Velocity-9, and a cameo appearance of Accelerated Man, the Flash of Earth-19. And near the end of Season 4, we learn that the mysterious girl who's been showing up is also a speedster, and in the last episode she reveals herself to be Barry and Iris' daughter from the future.
    • This also applies to metahumans in general. In the pilot, after Barry awakens from his 9-month coma and discovers he can move fast, he finds out that there is another metahuman out there, Clyde Mardon. When they fight, Mardon tells Barry he never expected to meet another one like him. So this means that there have been no cases of metahumans in 9 months? Then, suddenly, there's a new metahuman threat every week. And certain friends of Barry's also turn out to be metahumans.
    • There's also Gideon, the one-of-a-kind AI developed by Barry in the future and stolen by the Reverse-Flash. Then comes Legends of Tomorrow, and we find out that a Gideon-like AI (one of which is named Gideon but has a different voice) comes standard-issue on all Time Master ships. Even Chronos has one.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Raina's Inhuman power is clairvoyance -She gets glimpses of the future. Several other Inhuman characters remark on what a unique power this is and that as far as they know, no other Inhuman has ever had it before. One season later, another Inhuman with the same power is introduced. And then later his daughter is revealed to be clairvoyant too. It should be noted that they all function slightly differently: Raina is a straightforward Seer, the second gets glimpses of a specific person's future if he makes physical contact with them, and the third is a Non-Linear Character.
  • The amount of Mecha in Super Sentai and its adaptation Power Rangers has been increasing over the years. In the earliest years of Sentai, each team simply had one mecha for the entire series. From the late 80s to the 90s, each series introduced a secondary Mecha halfway through the series, which usually served as a Mecha Expansion Pack for the primary mecha. The introduction of the secondary mecha was usually done with much fanfare. Nowadays, each series is filled with so much Mecha, that the introduction of a new Mecha or combination doesn't have the impact it used to have.
    • For Power Rangers, it also applies to the titular heroes as well, given the Shared Universe aspect. In certain series, people will sometimes remark that the Rangers they encounter are not THE Power Rangers, but merely A group of Power Rangers. In most cases, many teams are aware of other Ranger teams also active at the same time, usually during teamup episodes. Point is, encountering other kinds of Power Rangers has become the least surprising thing for people in this setting. Of course, in a shared superhero universe setting, this is anything but a bad thing as there needs to be as many Rangers active as possible to fight the never-ending struggle against the many forces of evil plaguing the universe. One could even argue that this trope being largely true in the early years of the show worked against the heroes' favor when all the active forces of evil united as one army and invaded the universe en masse, nearly winning because of the disproportionately few amount of Rangers that could battle them, 13 or 14 at the very leastnote , if not for the Heroic Sacrifice of Zordon.
  • In Charmed (1998), a major plot in early seasons is that witches and Whitelighters can't be romantically involved—it took two and a half seasons before the Elders finally agreed to let Piper and Leo be together. Then we introduce Paige, a Half-Human Hybrid, but that's fine, because the whole reason that she was given up for adoption was to hide her parentage. Then in season eight, we're suddenly introduced to one-off character Simon Marks, a half-Whitelighter who is about Paige's age, has married parents and multiple siblings, and this is just treated as no big deal.
  • H₂O: Just Add Water: Emma, Cleo, Rikki, and Bella each have unique powers over water, as did their previous generation counterparts. Charlotte had all of the former three's powers, which was theorized to be the result of having been in the Moon Pool by herself. Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure does away with this limitation, as all the mermaids depicted have all those powers and more, including the temporary powers granted by the full moon, the advanced weather powers the original trio got in their second season, and a stronger version of Bella's powers (Bella can turn water into glass at best, Mimmi once changed an apple into a banana). In this case, it's justified, as the girls in Mako Mermaids are natural-born mermaids who have been taught how to use magic by older mermaids, as opposed to the girls in H₂O who are humans under an enchantment with almost no guidance on how to be mermaids. Evie, who is also an enchanted human, is able to use the same powers after being taught by Mimmi and Sirena.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Planeswalkers of Magic: The Gathering are one in a thousand in a thousand, spellcasters that can cross the expanses between planes. However, with their increased storyline focus comes an unspoken increase in their population; such that there are always enough planeswalkers on a given plane (at any given time) to round out a reasonably sized cast.
    Sarkhan: Planeswalker. That's what we're called. There are very few of us. But between you, me, and Ugin, there are three in this valley right now.
    • A bit of Surprisingly Realistic Outcome here: The Thran explains that only "one in a billion" beings are born with the Planeswalker Spark, and few ever awaken to it. However, one-in-a-billion means that there would currently be between 7 and 8 beings with Sparks on this planet/Plane alone, and any one could Awaken through a traumatic event. Given that there are literally hundreds or thousands of different Planes in the Multiverse (sometimes even sub-planes within the same Plane itself, such as Alara), that means that there are statistically just as many, or more, Planeswalkers out there. This is especially exacerbated by the fact that, before the Mending, Planeswalkers were all immortal, and, indeed, many Planeswalkers still are because they're Dragons, Vampires, Demons, Elves, Golems, their souls & bodies are kept magically youthful, etc., meaning that there can be several dozen Planeswalkers produced by any sufficiently-populated Plane over the course of a few millennia alone (as observed by both Dominaria which has had huge populations at given points in its history, and Ravnica, which still does have an enormous population).
  • 3+ armor saves in Warhammer 40,000; in the earliest editions equipment was randomized, so the best one could reliably get was a 5+ save for flakk armor, and even Space Marines were lucky if they got anything better than a 4+. In later editions when rules became more standardized, those with the worse armor saves were pushed into swarm army status while Games Workshop released dozens of different flavors of Marines until they became some of the most-played armies in the game.

  • Happens frequently in BIONICLE, usually with There Is Another:
    • The original six Toa were introduced as borderline-mythical, ultra-powerful warriors. The Toa. When the Seventh Toa appeared, it was a truly major thing that heavily affected the plot. Then came the revelation at the beginning of the Metru Nui saga: "You are not the first Toa!" A flashback during that arc to a great war showed one scene which had a total of 300 Toa appearing at once. Since then, Toa have became as "standard" as the Jedi in their respective universe, and the original six had to be re-branded as Toa Mata.
      However, the Mata are still unique in that their destiny (to awaken Mata Nui should something happen to him) is still incredibly important, and were one of the few to be made as Toa (rather than Matoran who became Toa). Before Mata Nui himself was even fully-online, they were already built, being the first Toa team in existence (though they forgot about that part thanks to how long they spent sleeping). After falling into the Energized Protodermis and coming out as stronger Nuva versions of themselves, something no other Toa had done before or after, they've become an entirely new type of Toa, and the only ones in existence.
    • Likewise, the Makuta. The most mysterious and powerful, nearly untouchable evil might, the Master of Shadows and the ultimate foe the Toa have to face. Subversion: no, he's just one of the original 100 Makuta. Nowadays he's called Makuta Teridax so we know which Makuta is being talked about. Double Subversion: Makuta in general are still tough bastards to beat, Teridax is still the strongest of them, their leader, and the overall Big Bad, and what he lost in novelty, he makes up for with his schemes. But Makuta, as a species, are nothing special now. The Karda Nui arc even saw the Toa Nuva take on a whole squad of Makuta at once — though they were partially DePowered, as the Toa wouldn't stand a chance otherwise.
    • Silver colored pieces. To a lesser degree, also gold. When the Toa upgraded into Toa Nuva, they received silver armor and weapons to reflect that they're "more" than mere Toa. The Bohrok-Kal came along, sporting silver as their secondary color to showcase their eliteness compared to regular Bohrok. After these, silver parts became a standard for absolutely every character, and colored weapons became such a rarity in fact, that when the 2009 first wave sets re-introduced element-specific colorings, there was much happiness... that lasted 'till the second wave, which went back to giving silver weapons to about half its sets.
      Gold went through an easier course. While beginning from 2004, many sets had it as their secondary or tertiary color, there were always figures (often special edition ones) that gave it some uniqueness. And in 2010, a former gold-wearing character had to be recolored silver just to make that year's "Golden Bionicle" promotion all the more special. But this didn't make all the other, non-special golden characters nonexistent.
  • In the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls movies, only eleven characters have been shown to be able to "pony up" (i.e. gaining pony ears and wings). These include Twilight Sparkle, the human counterparts of the Mane 6, Sunset Shimmer, and the Dazzlings. It's obvious why Twilight has the ability, the Humane Seven are implied to have spiritual connections to the Elements of Harmony, and the Dazzlings only gained the ability after absorbing and warping the magic of friendship. In the toyline, every doll is depicted with pony ears, and some are shown with wings (the one exception is the only boy doll, Flash Sentry). This includes characters not even based on ponies like Zecora and Queen Chrysalis.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Black Flag introduced the concept of Sages (also called Hyper-Hominids by Abstergo), those who are human reincarnations of Aita, an ancient scientist of the Isu, or First Civilization. For years, it was thought there was only one Sage in existence. That is until Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, where more Sages are introduced instead of just one. Those Sages are reincarnations of the every Norse God sanction of the Isu, with the main protagonist being the reincarnation of Odin himself.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Pokémon:
    • Each generation is released with new Legendary/Mythical Pokémon, which are meant to be one-of-a-kind (at least for most of them) and incredibly rare. At last count, there are around fifty-four of them, with Gen IV and V hosting around fourteen each. Gen VI reduced the number of new legendaries it introduced to six (tying it with Gens I and II for the smallest number of new legendaries), though Gen VII brought the number back up to eleven. This also leads to a meta example: Every single player knows where every legendary is, knows it's a Game-Breaker, and (ab)uses it. So it's entirely possible to have a four-player Mewtwo and Mewtwo vs. Mewtwo and Mewtwo match.
    • Mewtwo, a man-made Pokémon born from cloning Mew's genetic DNA, used to be known as "the world's most powerful Pokémon", suggesting that Pokémon with such awesome powers had never been seen or known of by humans before. Legendary Pokémon of later generations are godlike in their cosmic powers and capabilities, with many humans knowing of them through myths and legends and revering them as deities, making the previous hype for a Mewtwo seem ridiculous. This especially goes for Arceus, who has the ability to create life itself and is, essentially, God.
    • In Gen I, Ghost types were only found in one location and required a special device to be able to see and capture at all. By Gen II, Ghost types were more common and the device was written out entirely. Eventually, ghost types are treated in-universe as dangerous, but are also far more mundane than they originally were.
    • With the introduction of Hidden Abilities in Gen V, many Abilities formerly exclusive to a single Pokémon or evolution line have spread to other species. This hit Kyogre and Groudon hard, as their once world-ending weather Abilities now seemed less imposing when a common Politoed could also summon rain instantly. Their Primal Reversions in Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire avert this by having unique Abilities that are stronger than their original ones.
    • The same occurs with unique type combinations and signature moves. Dragon and Ghost types used to be represented by a single family each back in Pokémon Red and Blue. Now there's a good selection of them to choose from.
      • Similarly Pseudo-legendariesnote  incredibly powerful Pokemon that are rare and in their debut games can only be obtained in their base forms. This requires a lengthy level up process to evolve them and often there will only be one fully evolved Pseudo-legend in the game, often wielded by that games' champion or a member of the Elite Four. If they appear in later games however, their final or penultimate form can be available to catch in the wild at far higher levels.
    • In its earliest appearances, Eevee was often mentioned to be a very rare Pokémon and was even implied to be extinct in the wild in Yellow. For a long time this trait was kept by the narrative, as the only Eevee the player could receive were gifts from NPCs or found after obtaining the National Dex in areas explicitly stated to contain rare Pokémon... then Generations V and VI quashed the entire notion by introducing areas that allowed the player to catch as many wild Eevee as they want. Despite this, its Pokédex entry in X, due to being reused from Diamond and Pearl, still pretends it's a rare species.
    • Other Pokémon have had this happen to them over time. In the generation where they're introduced, they may be difficult to obtain, but later generations may make them easier and easier to find. For continuity-related reasons this has happened to Lapras. Throughout the series it was mentioned that Lapras had been driven to near-extinction by hunters. Starting with Sun and Moon this was reversed. Pokédex entries now state that Lapras used to be an endangered species but due to conservation efforts they're now extremely common.
    • Fossils were once very rare and hard to obtain, with the player only getting a choice one per game. Around Gen IV, however, multiple fossils became very easy to obtain (though certain fossils tend to be version exclusives, and new fossils remain a "once-per-game" choice for at least their debut gen).
    • In Pokémon X and Y, Mega Evolution was available to the player and a select few NPCs: Korrina, the Gym Leader who introduces it to the player; Lysandre, the leader of Team Flare; Diantha, the Champion; and (post-game) the player's rival. One game later in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Mega Evolution is used by Maxie, Archie, Steven, Wally, Lisia, Zinnia, and (post-game) the Hoenn Elite Four. In the next generation, starting from Pokémon Sun and Moon, while Mega Evolution takes a back seat to introduce Z-Moves to the game, it is still used by many different Trainers, including minor NPCs in the Battle Tree.
    • In most games, the Pokédex is a device available in strictly limited quantities and is given out by the region's Professor with the stated task of cataloging all of the region's Pokémon. By Gen VIII and IX the Pokédex is now a smartphone app and virtually everyone who has a smartphone and cares about Pokémon has access to it.
    • Pokémon GO eliminates the uniqueness of many of the mainline game's concepts:
      • The Legendary Mon's legendaryness was destroyed by the Raids feature: how many you collect is limited only by the number of them you're willing to do and how much money you're willing to spend on raid passes. Many players get entire 6-mon teams of each legendary, or collect far more of them just to get as many perfect-stat ones as possible and throw away the rest (the game encourages the latter, since that way you can get lots of "candy" to level up the good ones).
      • Mythical ones, so far, are limited to one per account, but getting one only requires completing a straightforward series of tasks.
      • Shiny Pokémon have a higher occurrence frequency than in the main games, especially during events with boosted chances such as the Community Day events. This leads to people having tons of shinies of a single species in their box.
      • Many normal non-legendary mons are far more valuable than legendaries because they can only be caught in certain regions of the world.
      • With the introduction of the (admittedly Too Awesome to Use) Elite TM, Pokémon can now have attacks that were either deleted from their moveset or event-locked moves (both of them being named Legacy moves), leading to mons having two (or three, if they unlocked their second charged attack) Legacy moves.
    • In what was probably an unintentionally hilarious bit of Fridge Logic, we have the Legendary Beast Suicune. It was originally introduced in Pokémon Gold Version and Silver Version with the updated rerelease Crystal giving it a subplot about a Trainer that had been trying to capture Suicune for years, but in all that time had barely seen a glimpse of it. Suicune would then go on to appear in later games and spin-offs which made the original story a bit less poignant. What really makes it funny, however, is that Suicune was made a playable character in Pokkén Tournament, the story mode of which requires the player to battle in fighting tournaments against other A.I.-controlled Pokémon. This means it is entirely possible to fight upwards of 10-20 unique Suicunes in the same tournament alone. Doesn't get much less unique than that.
    • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, the protagonists are granted an experimental product called a Rotom Dex, which is a Pokédex possessed by a Rotom. While Rotom possessing electronic devices is nothing new, this is the first time it has been used to power a device for explicitly non-combative purposes and is thus treated as special. Come Pokémon Sword and Shield, and Rotom devices are now basically everywhere, including a Rotom PC and Rotom smartphones.
    • In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Champion went from a status held by a singular figure in the region to a rank that's given to anyone who completes the Pokemon League, with League Chairwoman Geeta being the "Top Champion" of Paldea while Nemona is considered just a "regular" Champion.
  • Kingdom Hearts introduced the Keyblade, a weapon that can open or close the heart of worlds, can open any lock, can't be stolen from the wielder, and can appear from Hammerspace. Only The Chosen One can wield it, but it turns out there were two chosen ones, and Riku giving into the darkness became a major dilemma since Sora had to fight his long-time best friend, who was better than he was. Then it turns out King Mickey is also a chosen one. And so is Kairi, Roxas, and Xion (those last two having the excuse of a connection to Sora). By the time of Birth by Sleep, there are seven active Keyblade wielders plus one retired wielder and it turns out there was once a whole slew of them, at once! And then once Dream Drop Distance rolls around, Lea gets a Keyblade as well, even though unlike the other characters, he already had a weapon and could fight perfectly fine without needing one; this brings the total number of active wielders to 8 counting the BBS trio. Of course, it's explained that Keyblade wielders became a whole lot more unique because of a little something called the Keyblade War, which broke the universe and led the few wielders that remained swearing to protect the worlds to keep it from happening again, as well as carefully training successors to not restart the Keyblade War.
  • For the first two games in the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Phazon is a rare and mysterious substance, and the space pirates go to great lengths to secure sources of it; but in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Phazon is everywhere. It's reasonably justified in many cases in that Phazon has been weaponized and thus heavily adopted by both the Space Pirates and the Galactic Federation as part of the interstellar arms race (the Federation is also stated to have acquired their Phazon from the planet from the second game-someone had to clean it up), and that Phazon is found in the environments because the Pirates are deliberately trying to spread it everywhere and it's pretty good at spreading itself anyway. However, it stretches disbelief a bit that every other random indigenous alien space monster now runs on Phazon (according to the scan data), when they've only been exposed to it for a few weeks. Especially considering that exposure to Phazon was established in Prime to usually be rather immediately deadly, with dozens of Space Pirate test subjects dying or going irredeemably psychotic due to trial exposure, with the Omega Pirate being the one that didn't, and the notoriously hardy Metroids being about the only species that could reliably survive even passing exposure. Federation Logs mention none of their forces suffering from "Phazon Madness", so they apparently found some way to safely use it that no one else thought of. Phazon being everywhere is eventually fully explained as being from a sentient planet of Phazon, that is launching seeds to reproduce. Dark Samus took control of the planet, and used it for her purproses. That still doesn't explain random indigenous lifeforms not being killed or driven mad by it though.
  • Warcraft has a few examples of this.
    • The night elves of World of Warcraft. In their introduction in Warcraft III they were ancient, immortal protectors of the world that had existed for 16,000 years at the bare minimum. Almost everything that defined their backstory, such as their immortality, how long they've been around, the betrayal of their leaders to the Legion, and the loss of their homeland, all would be matched or one-upped by the Draenei in Burning Crusade. As of Mists of Pandaria, it's easier to list the races that aren't at least as old as the night elves, with even the formerly-described "young race" of the humans revealed to have existed for 15,000 years (albeit not as immortals), and the draenei have for a whopping twenty-five thousand. The elves were also close allies of the dragons, but since Wrath of the Lich King the dragons have been popping up helping people everywhere.
    • The fact that night elves had glowing eyes were originally part of their magical, ancient and mysterious nature. Now a good third of the playable races have glowing eyes, and certain classes allow all races to have them. Despite this, Paladins, which have had them since their introduction in Warcraft II, a full game before Night Elves, do not have any.
    • When lore was first set down for the dragons, it was shown that all dragons belong to one of five "Flights": Red, Green, Blue, Bronze, and Black. World of Warcraft had the black dragons experimenting with creating a new, Chromatic flight, with powers of all flights. Even that idea proliferated quickly, with there being some sort of new dragons connected to the black dragons every time we met them, from Nether dragons to Twilight dragons. Then we met the proto-dragons, which were revealed to be the form of the dragons before they were empowered by the Titans, and ever since new kinds of dragons pop up all the time.
    • The Blue Dragon Aspect, Malygos, was said to have gone insane when his dragonflight was destroyed by Deathwing's betrayal during the War of the Ancients. This didn't prevent blue dragons from increasingly appearing in World of Warcraft, building up until Malygos formed an army to wage war on mortals as part of the insanity supposedly brought on by losing all of his kind. Similarly, in response to that betrayal, Deathwing's dragonflight was driven to near extinction. While they appeared occasionally as a common enemy, they started becoming more important and more subspecies of them continued to be introduced until they became a major villain group.
    • Warcraft III was about the Burning Legion trying to drain the power from the World Tree, which was treated as an apocalyptic event that required all the mortal races uniting to stop them. World of Warcraft introduced a new World Tree grown to replace the ruined one, but it was imperfect. Ever since, though, it seems like every new continent we stumble upon has its own World Tree or equivalent.
    • While Warcraft II expanded the world introduced in Warcraft I, it mostly elaborated on a continent that we obviously hadn't seen the entirety of. A major plot point of Warcraft III was the reveal of the lost continent of Kalimdor, and how the world used to be more like Pangaea until the Sundering. In World of Warcraft, the Mists of Pandaria expansion introduces a new lost continent with a plot that has a very similar outline, all the while acting like a mysterious hidden land is a unique concept.
    • Ogre magi were originally rare and powerful mutants created by the orc warlock Gul'dan. In Warlords of Draenor, it was retconned that ogre culture was defined by sorcerer-kings, who ruled their people with immensely powerful magic. While still rare by the standards of their people, the ogres were established to have been the dominant race of Draenor, making ogre magi a relatively normal thing.
  • Harry Potter might as well not appear in the Free Play part of LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7. In Years 1-4, he had four rare or unique abilities: Expecto Patronum, perfect broomstick control, Invisibility Cloak, and Parseltongue. The first was an essential combat spell in some stages, and all four were used in a lot of puzzles. By the time Free Play is worth attempting in Years 5-7, any magical can use a broomstick perfectlynote , a lot of magicals have Expecto Patronum, and cauldrons with Invisibility Potion litter the placenote . Ron and Hermione have been gifted with one truly unique ability each, which are used in practically every stage, andnote  Ron now has the ability to crack any Parseltongue code, not just the one required by the plot. Harry just takes up space in your roster.
  • Like with the Harry Potter example above, Jar Jar Binks in LEGO Star Wars is treated as important in the first video game due to his unique Super Jump ability that allows him to reach locations too high for Jedi or Sith Characters. However, Jar Jar had no form of personal attack and due to the limitations of the hardware at the time; there was no Melee attack feature for any character outside of Lightsaber-wielding characters and the Magna Guard. By the time of "The Complete Saga"; third game of the Lego Star Wars series, the melee fighting system problem was rectified to allow for Jar Jar to actually whale on his opponents, however the Character Sheet had also been expanded to include Captain Tarpals; another Gungan Playable Character that also had Super Jump and carried a spear melee weapon to fight with. Meaning that Jar Jar was rendered useless to the roster for any levels that had required a Super Jump character in it.
  • In Kirby's Dream Land 2, Dark Matter is thought to be a singular alien entity that tries to take over Dream Land. In Kirby's Dream Land 3, Dark Matter is actually just one of the larger entities of Dark Matter which goes and tries to conquer planets, created from and under the control of Kirby's true enemy: Zero. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards features even more Dark Matter, including a swarm of them massive enough to form an entire planet known as Dark Star and another Dark Matter controller called Miracle Matter (which actually is The Dragon to—and more closely resembles—Zero Two). Kirby: Squeak Squad would later introduce Dark Nebula (Dark Zero in the original Japanese version), who is thought to be a rogue offshoot of Dark Matter; the 20th anniversary artbook lists Dark Nebula as one of the "Dark Matter Invaders" but states its exact relationship to Zero is unclear. Further complicating matters is Void Termina, the Final Boss of Kirby Star Allies, which has an implicit connection to Dark Matter and Zero... and several other notable main antagonists throughout the series as well as Kirby himself!
  • In Mass Effect 2, ardat-yakshi are described as so rare that, according to Samara, only three are known to exist in the galaxy, all three of whom are her daughters. She does mention her desire to track down others that might exist undocumented. Skip forward a few months to Mass Effect 3, and there's a colony where hundreds of them live in isolation, and bringing more to the site seems to be a routine task for Justicars. This is later clarified that the condition exists on a spectrum, and most of the ardat-yakshi at the colony only have varying degrees of potential for the problem to emerge: the three Samara mentioned are the only "true" ardat-yakshi, the only ones with a severe enough case of it that it manifests fully.
  • This is cited in Jade Empire for why Kang The Mad refuses to create any duplicates of his wonderful flying machines, though he certainly can do so. One Marvelous Dragonfly is a unique treasure, a magnificent work of technological art. Hundreds of them would make them cheap and commonplace. Of course, since Kang is actually Lord Lao, a minor deity of inventions and technology, he's not operating on the same thought process or morality as mortal humans
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds does this with the Triforce. Turns out that Lorule had its own version of the Triforce, only upside-down. Granted, it was destroyed ages ago, but it gets brought back at the end of the game by a wish on the Hyrulean Triforce.
    • A retroactive example occurs with the Hylian Shield. In Ocarina of Time it was merely the standard Adult Shield, but in the prequel Skyward Sword, which added a shield decay mechanic, the Hylian Shield is indestructible and is a divine gift that Link must go through trials to gain. Given that in Ocarina the shield is said to be the one that the castle guards use, this may be a case of reverse engineering.
  • This was what hurt Star Wars: Galaxies. Jedi were meant to be super rare as the game was set after the original trilogy. They were meant to be the end result of a lengthy quest line that could even have false ends. Then, the creators decided to allow anyone to start off as a Jedi. That... went as well as expected.
  • Interestingly, the currency of the Bayonetta series, Halos, are decayed immediately after their introduction. They are described a very rare, spiritual metal containing the Life Energy of angels and are even built up to be a big deal by weaponsmith and bartender, Rodin, only for them to become increasingly commonplace in the very first battle, enemies dropping them like Halo-filled Piñatas. Halos make a return, still described as rare as ever, in Bayonetta 2, but they are joined by an equally described as rare new currency made from crystallized demon's blood called Orbs (which also serves as a Shout-Out to the Devil May Cry series), which become just as commonplace once Bayonetta starts defeating Infernal Demons on a regular basis.
  • Halo has this with regards to Spartans. The first game, Halo: Combat Evolved, declared that Master Chief was the last surviving Spartan-II Super Soldier. This was quickly retconned, as other Spartan-IIs were later revealed to have been alive at the same in-universe time of the first game. Still, their number had greatly diminished, and only 33 of them had survived the Training from Hell to begin with, so the uniqueness still applied somewhat. Then Halo: Ghosts of Onyx revealed that there was a separate Spartan-III program which trained hundreds of disposable suicide soldiers. After that, Halo 4 introduced a new class of Spartan-IVs produced after the Human-Covenant War ends that are a lot easier to train than the previous Spartan programs, greatly increasing the number of Spartans in the universe. To be fair, though, those programs represent decades of development and refining. Spartan-IIs had to be chosen based on specific genetic parameters, and the original list of 150 was eventually cut in half for budget reasons. The enhancement procedure further reduced that number by half, with many not surviving or being permanently crippled by it. By the time the Spartan-III program rolled around, significant strides have been made in adapting the procedure for a larger sample of the population, to the point where hundreds of Spartan-IIIs could be trained and enhanced without the need for a complex genetic selection process; also, all enhancements were successful this time around. The Spartan-IV project revives the original idea from the failed Spartan-I project (AKA Project ORION), which involved enhancing veteran soldiers using the tech and lessons learned from II and III. All surviving Spartan-IIs and IIIs are "upgraded" to Spartan-IV standards alongside volunteers from among the UNSC Marines and ODSTs. Also, their MJOLNIR armor is initially described as incredibly expensive, but this is because it consists of cutting-edge technology that is partly reverse-engineered from Covenant tech. This is also why Spartan-IIIs are initially only provided the significantly weaker (and cheaper) SPI armor. It's only after production is streamlined that MJOLNIR costs go down, allowing every Spartan to be equipped with his or her own slightly-modified MJOLNIR.
  • In Earth 2150, Fang has a unique vehicle with a powerful Energy Weapon. Then along comes The Moon Project expansion, and the Lunar Corporation suddenly has buildable knock-offs that are weaker than the original.
  • For Joe Rival in Super Robot Wars V. Joe has always pride himself for his "Joe the Ace" nickname throughout the series, and often throws his In the Name of the Moon speeches with it. But as Might informed him in one of the in-between-save scenarios, he's not the only ace of the cast anymore:
    Might: "Any of us who achieves over 60 kills gets to earn the 'Ace' title!"
    Joe: WHAT...did you just say!?
    Guard Diver: "Does that mean...I too!?"
    Battle Bomber: "I three...!?"
    Might Gaine: "Everyone REALLY can have the chance to be one!?"
    Might: "That's right! You better take note of that, Joe!"
    Joe: "...Why do I have this inexplicable sense of bitterness...?"
  • Mega Man:
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, it is established in Morrowind (and to a lesser degree in Daggerfall) that Daedric, Ebony, and Glass (high end Fantasy Metals, with the latter two having Non-Indicative Names) equipment is extremely rare, powerful, and expensive. Due to Morrowind's extremely limited Level Scaling (unique for the series), the game world is largely static with items hand-placed outside of containers never changing, meaning that a level one character can find the same loot as a much higher level character (often turning into a Disc-One Nuke situation and averting the Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness). This means that finding equipment made from these canonically rare materials is a real accomplishment. The only NPCs who possess this equipment are either high ranking nobles and knights or very strong bandit leaders. However, in Oblivion and Skyrim, the level-scaling system significantly changes the loot distribution mechanic along with changes to the level-scaling system in general. These games rely on a strictly level-based loot system, with the player finding increasingly more powerful equipment as they level up, resulting in a high level character finding supposedly rare equipment in almost every treasure chest and blacksmith's inventory. Another side effect of this is that almost every bandit and their dog also wields strong equipment, severely downplaying the fact your character possesses equipment made from rare materials.
  • The Legend of Dragoon:
    • Dragons are treated as mythological creatures that vanished over 11,000 years ago. In the first disc, Sandora having a dragon on their side is treated as a Story-Breaker Power. By disc three, there's an entire mountain filled with nothing but dragons. Yet somehow, they're still treated as insanely rare.
    • The same applies to winglies. The reveal that Lenus and Lloyd are winglies is treated as a huge shock to most of the cast. Then over the course of the game, two entire villages of winglies are introduced (though one doesn't know about the other). In the end, Lenus and Lloyd are only unusual in the fact they don't hail from either village.
  • The central plots of the first three Fallout games all revolve around some sort of conflict for clean water, which is extremely valuable in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the games' setting. Then in Fallout 4, you can build water purifiers yourself quite easily in the settlement minigame and there's no mention of any group having water issues (though the world is still quite post-apocalyptic).
  • Fire Emblem:
  • The Rayman series manage to be an inversion of this trope:
    • Rayman's best known trait are his Floating Limbs, but in the first game, most characters were like him, lacking arms, legs and a neck. In Rayman 2: The Great Escape, few characters from the previous game came back and he suddenly becomes unique among all the other new characters that don't have the same limbless design. Rayman Origins went further by redesigning all the characters from the first game that returned, making most of them no longer limbless.
    • This applies to Rayman's species as well. In the first game, many characters similar to Rayman appear, hinting that he is part of a species. Not only did these Rayman lookalikes disappear as the series went on, but Origins changed the species of some characters (such as the Magician, who looked like part of Rayman's species, being changed to a Teensie) and it now seems like Rayman really is one-of-a-kind aside from clones.
    • Played straight with Yellow Lums. Yellow Lums in Rayman 2: The Great Escape are collectible limited to 1000 (800 in the PlayStation version) but are in unlimited numbers in more recent games like Rayman Origins. Them being the fragments of the Heart of the World is all but forgotten.
  • Fate Series:
    • In Fate/hollow ataraxia, there were some pretty hefty implications that there was only one Avenger: Angra Mainyu. Later stories introduced many more Avengers.
    • The Fate/EXTRA games put forth that there was only one character who could occupy the Moon Cancer class, that being BB, who created the class for herself. Since then, there have been two other characters who qualify: Ganesha/Hinako and Kiara, who is heavily implied to have essentially stolen it from BB.
  • Genshin Impact: In one of the early quests, you and Xiangling find frozen meat from an extinct species of boar, and use it to win a cooking contest. At the time, it seems like that was the only boar-popsicle in the world. But the Dragonspine update added an entire mountain full of them; they even come back to life when thawed, and there's also a gigantic boar boss that drops a whole bunch of the stuff.
  • Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny: The God of Destruction, said to be capable of casually wiping out the Universe, is the primary antagonist of the game, being fought at the end of each chapter. However, the game's second act throws that out the window, and has the party begin fighting more of them, including up to five in a single map! There is, however, a justification: the person who made the first God of Destruction was using them as a test subject to create a core that can transform anyone into a God of Destruction. Much later, when their plans have been waylaid, they decide to then turn themself into one, albeit as the Final Boss they get a unique design.
  • In the first three Uncle Albert games, Uncle Albert only had one album, which was considered his most precious property and was located in his attic. Le Temple Perdu de l'Oncle Ernest and La Statuette Maudite de l'Oncle Ernest reveal that Uncle Albert has multiple albums hidden around the world.

  • Justified in Schlock Mercenary with the teraport. Kevyn invents the technology and before too long everyone has it, because they spammed half the galaxy with the specs to prevent the idea being suppressed. Also unusual in that the consequences of the sudden proliferation of this new technology are also explored.
  • Zig-zagged in Darths & Droids with lightsabers, which everyone refers to as "laser swords". At first they're assumed to be some cheap, low-level trash that the protagonists apparently bought in a bar. Then Jim gets the idea to use them to deflect blaster attacks, which allows him and Ben to curbstomp a squad of droids they were supposed to have no chance against. This trope then gets inverted when it's said that only Jedi carry lightsabers, only to be played straight later when Darth Maul, a simple private detective in this universe is shown to be carrying one as well with no explanation. Though the latter introduction of "Darth" as an honorific for ex-Jedi would imply he simply became a private detective after leaving the order.
  • Parodied in The Order of the Stick: upon being introduced to Zz'dtri (an obvious parody of Drizzt), the Order notes that dark elves are Always Chaotic Evil.
    Nale: Now the whole species consists of Chaotic Good rebels, yearning to throw off the reputation of their evil kin.
    Haley: Evil kin? Didn't you just say they were all Chaotic Good?
    Nale: Details.
    • It was revealed almost immediately after that this was simply a lie.
  • In one Questionable Content arc, Hannelore gets a humanoid "robot boyfriend" chassis prototype from her Mad Scientist father. Marten is clearly weirded out by the implication of human/robot relations (though the robot lacks genitalia) and Faye remarks that fully humanoid AI chassis are unheard of. Four years later (but less than 18 months in-universe), humanoid chassis are unremarkable and multiple human characters have had sexual relationships with AIs.
  • Homestuck has the God Tier tranformation. When it's introduced, the recipient becomes the most powerful of all the main characters and it's implied that only an extremely small fraction of Sburb players manage to achieve it. Several hundred of strips later, there are no less than twelve regular characters at God Tier (with many managing to accomplish it despite the original process for becoming God Tier being impossible for them, only for that to be retconned), not counting all the doomed timeline background fodder.
  • Cheshire Crossing has an in-universe(s) example as a plot point. "Planar adepts", individuals with the power to travel between parallel worlds, are apparently quite rare: The Wicked Witch of the West immediately goes all-out to capture the one who wanders into Oz. When Wendy casually informs her that her two roommates have the same talent, she outright scoffs at the very idea. Boy, is she wrong...

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: The Apollyon Object Class started out as unique to the SCP that introduced it, SCP-2317. It essentially indicated that the object "cannot be stopped or contained; humanity is fucked beyond repair" and was explicitly beyond the existing Keter class (which is for objects that are very difficult to contain). However, it started being used in other SCPs such as S. D. Locke's Proposal and SCP-3999. This actually led the author of SCP-2317 to rewrite it, replacing the Object Class with the also-unique "Special Access Designation: CODE NIGHTMARE REGENT RED".

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time began with the assertion that Finn is the last surviving human in Ooo. The first few seasons would gradually introduce characters that were regarded as either ambiguously or formerly human such as Susan Strong and Simon Petrikov (now known as Ice King), but Finn continued to be the sole confirmed unaltered human. Come season five, however, with the developments that Simon's fiancée Betty has been brought back to the present, and Finn's father is still alive. The miniseries Islands takes it even further, revealing the existence of an entire remote archipelago populated by other surviving humans.
  • The early seasons of Big Mouth introduced Maury and Connie as the Hormone Monster and Hormone Monstress, portraying them as if they're the main monsters in charge of puberty. The only other Hormone Monster introduced that season, Rick, appeared mostly as a joke. From Season 2 onwards, however, it becomes clear that there are not only many other Hormone Monsters (some of whom also become recurring characters), but many other types of monsters for different human conditions. By the spinoff Human Resources (2022), other monsters who were once the only one of their kind, namely Shame Wizard and Depression Kitty, are each established to be simply one member of a greater species of monster as we meet other Shame Wizards and Depression Kitties.
  • Gargoyles: When the Manhattan clan woke up in the modern world they were told that they were the last of their kind. During the World Tour arc they learned that their eggs survived and were still alive. Then they learned about three other surviving clans. New gargoyles were also created through cloning, and the clones formed a new clan. Word of God says that there were additional clans in the world that were never shown on-screen.
  • In The Legend of Korra, some of the rare and unique variants of the four Elemental Powers of Avatar: The Last Airbender have become commonplace:
    • Lightningbending, which was emphasized as being dangerous and masterable by only a select few (all the ones in the original series were members of the royal family), has become common enough that people who need second jobs can do it to run a power plant (though Word of God states that lightningbenders are still relatively rare).
    • Similarly, metalbending (previously exclusive to the original series's Toph) is a standard skill taught to Republic City's police force, Zaofu's city guard, and the Earth Empire's Elite Mooks (though this is not an example of Continuity Drift, since Toph founded the first metalbending school and Republic City's police, her younger daughter founded Zaofu, and a former Zaofu guard founded the Earth Empire). However, even by the time of Korra metalbending is still a proportionally rare skill, with "only one out of a hundred" earthbenders able to actually learn it (something that Bolin is quite upset about).
    • In the original show, one vengeful waterbender enslaved by the Fire Nation had discovered bloodbending, and she taught it only to Katara, who finds it so abhorrent that she uses it on extremely rare occasion and would definitely never teach it to anyone else (in fact, she eventually gets it outlawed). The control it requires is such that even for a master waterbender, it was thought to be possible only under a full moon, when a waterbender's power is at its peak. In The Legend of Korra, Tarrlok, his brother Amon, and their father Yakone are all revealed to be bloodbenders, each powerful enough to immobilize a full room of people without a full moon. Sokka even lampshades this in a flashback to Yakone's trial, noting that even during his youth, people were developing bending in ways previously thought impossible.
    • Permanently removing a person's bending abilities, introduced in the final episode of the first series as an ancient ability that had been lost to time, was a technique thought possible only by the Avatar in the Avatar State, at great risk to himself. Amon, the Big Bad of the first season, is able to debend others with little apparent effort, although the means that he does so are revealed to be completely different from Aang's, and his method can also be undone by an Avatar.
    • Though it's unknown whether chi-blocking was completely unique to Ty Lee, the Equalists use her Pressure Point-based techniques to fight against benders, though in her case it's mentioned that she did teach it to some others.
    • Combustion Man's explosion-based combustionbending (a variant of firebending) is still quite rare in Korra's time, allowing P'Li to remain a serious threat in Book 3, but the particulars of how it is performed are now well-known, as are its weaknesses.
    • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Airbending was almost completely wiped out, with one sole survivor. Come the Sequel Series, there were four, all descendants of the last survivor. Korra manages to get some by the first season finale, but all airbenders we see aside from this small group of people are from the past. Then season 3 comes around, and now hundreds of airbenders are running around thanks to Harmonic Convergence.
  • The status of alicorns in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic seems to be gradually slipping into this. When they were first introduced, there were only two of them, Princess Celestia and her sister, Princess Luna. While they had the title of "Princess", the show treated them more as divine royalty or Physical Goddesses. Halfway through season 2, we see a picture of an unnamed Winged Unicorn princess in a book (though this may not be canon, as different camera cuts of the very same page show her as an earth pony). At the end of season 2, Princess Cadence was introduced. She was originally conceived as a pegasus, but was made an alicorn due to Executive Meddling. By the end of season 3, Twilight Sparkle, the main protagonist, was also made into an alicorn. Season 4 finale firmly establishes that there are only four known alicorns in Equestria. In season 6, Princess Cadance and Shining Armor have a baby named Princess Flurry Heart, who is also an alicorn princess, bringing the total to 5. And the toy line has three more who don't appear in the show and one of the magazines depicts another (Princess Gold Lily, Princess Sterling, Princess Skyla, and Leon).
  • This inevitably happens in almost every variation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as more mutants are introduced. Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles does this the fastest with the first episode revealing to the turtles themselves that there's an entire hidden city of Funny Animals (though these ones are identified as Yōkai rather than mutants).
  • Super-powered individuals are an extreme rarity at the start of The Spectacular Spider-Man. It's stated that Spider-Man's presence and fighting crime on his own has driven down crime in the whole of New York through deterence. However, this fades as the number of super-villains increases, some accidental and some engineered, and Spidey is forced to spend his time with them as opposed to ordinary crooks.
    • The Rhino specifically tries to avert this trope when he finds out that the method for recreating his superpowers is up for sale.

    Real Life 
  • A popular saying runs, "God made man, but Sam Colt made men equal." Prior to the revolver, handguns were expensive, inefficient, and inaccurate, but Colt managed to develop the relatively inexpensive revolver. The result was personal firearms becoming much more common.
  • Nuclear armaments fit into this. During WWII, only a few countries were trying to split the atom. After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the capability of nuclear weaponry became realized, more and more nations scrambled to get their own nukes ready. Now, there are five nations that openly are accepted to have nuclear weaponsnote , three nations that not-so-secretly have themnote , two more that are making strides to get themnote  and one that might have been attempting to start a weapons program in the recent pastnote . And all that's not even getting into the dozens of nations that theoretically could get them at any time if they were willing to put up with the international pressure that would be put on them and the various nations that did have nuclear weapons or a weapons program at some point in the past. Combine that with the constantly decreasing difficulty of building more powerful missiles means that more than a few could have weapons capable of vaporizing cities and those weapons could be fired at targets thousands of kilometers away. Unsurprisingly this means that a lot of nations get very uneasy whenever two or more nuclear-armed nations get into a standoff.
  • Really this applies to nearly any technology that people want. Computers, weapons, cars, cell phones... as the cost of making something decreases and the knowledge of the makers increase every technology eventually will lose its rare availability.
    • This applies to knowledge as well. Literacy was a rarity until recently, and the fact that you're probably not reading this text aloud makes you more literate than anyone a thousand years ago. Know how to do long division? You'd be a wizard in 15th-Century Europe, since Arabic numerals hadn't been introduced yet and division was practically impossible with Roman numerals. You might even know enough about relativity to prove Newton wrong, even though it was barely in universities one hundred years ago. The invention of the internet has made an absolutely enormous amount of information on almost any subject readily available to the average person, which has sped up cultural change.
    • This also applies to skills. Being able to do something makes you stand out among those who cannot do that skill. However, your uniqueness quickly diminishes when you meet people whose skill level is equal or higher than yours. This is most apparent when it comes to sports. You may be able to perform a crossover dribble or throw a football for 15 yards because it's your hobby or you learned it by imitating what you saw on TV/the Internet. However, when playing against actual athletes or simply just watching them perform multiple crossover moves or launch footballs from one end of the field to the other, then it becomes clear that your skill is clearly not that unique.
    • This is played with when it comes to Languages. Being able to understand and communicate using a foreign language looks impressive if most of your peers cannot do the same thing. Then you go to an environment like a school or a club where most people like you can do the same thing, with some being better than you at it, and your skill becomes mundane in comparison. However, if you go to a country where that language is natively spoken, your uniqueness comes from being a non-native who has a functional level of communication and it's more impressive if you have a native-speaker level of fluency.
  • The color purple. Once used as a color for royalty, now a color for just about everyone thanks to cheaper synthetic dyes. In fact, have you ever noticed almost no flags have purple? It's because trying to get enough dye to put purple on your flags would've been horrifically expensive for any country (the dye came from the ground up shells of a type of snail that lived in one tiny part of the Middle East, and you needed many, many snails to even make 1 gram of dye). That is, up until about 200 years ago, when a chemist named William Henry Perkins synthesized mauve dye when trying to make synthetic quinine (a drug for malaria). Blue also used to be rare.
  • Aluminum used to be worth more than gold. Refining its ores used to be very difficult, making pure aluminum very rare. The Hall-Héroult process made obtaining pure aluminum much easier and its high price subsequently collapsed. This came at an unfortunate time for the builders of the Washington Monument in the United States, who had already capped the monument with aluminium to flaunt the country's wealth.
  • When being a person who enjoys a certain thing stops being rare, It's Popular, Now It Sucks! is born.
  • A story that is often told regarding the strength of the human spirit; before Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile, it was believed to be so impossible anybody who attempted would die in the process. After he proved it was possible, within a short time, high-school kids were doing it.
  • The United States and France were unique as republics in the 18th Century, but now most kingdoms left are constitutional monarchies with the king or queen as a figurehead, and even they're comparatively rare. France's form of nationalism, where membership of a country was based on a shared cultural identity rather obeying a king, was also unique for the time, but now every country (monarchies included) has some form of national identity separate from its rulers.
  • Zoroastrianism was the first monotheistic faith; now, a majority of the world believe in a single god, while Zoroastrianism itself isn't even in the top five forms of monotheism.note 
  • It used to be very rare for a human to be over 6' tall, over 200 lbs, or particularly strong. In first world countries, at least, decades of vastly improved nutrition and medical care compared to centuries prior have made it a lot less rare to grow taller than six feet and weigh over 200 lbs (whether that's largely muscle or just being fat varies by the individual). The six foot, two to three inch tall George Washington, weighing in at MAYBE 200 lbs, rounding up, was considered to be a remarkably large man back in the 1700s. In a crowd of 21st century Americans, he'd be a bit taller than most, and definitely no heavier than the average.
  • Any animal species that was once rare but makes a comeback from near extinction, but this is a unanimously good example of this trope.
    • Examples include the bald eagle. Its population went down in the mid-20th century for a number of factors, including being hunted because of the false assumption that it posed an significant threat to livestock and young children, and an at the time widely used pesticide that had the effect of thinning its eggshells or making it sterile. The pesticide was eventually banned, as well as hunting the bird. Its population recovered.
    • More controversially, large predators like wolves and great white sharks were once hunted to near extinction in their natural ranges due to their preceived threat to humans (and livestock in the case of the wolves). Conservation laws introduced near the end of the 20th century have allowed those predators to return in some numbers, but the bias still remains and some regions will still call for hunts over particulary notable incidents.
  • Absolutely central to Natural Selection as a phenomenon. A mutation or other trait that becomes useful will naturally become more and more common in the population, so long as there is a selective pressure towards it.

Alternative Title(s): Everyone Has A Power Ring, Novelty Decay