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New Powers As The Plot Demands / Anime & Manga

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People gaining New Powers as the Plot Demands in anime and manga.

  • Attack on Titan Eren's Titan Shifter abilities (all of them) progressively manifest when he desperately needs them. Of course he is set up as suffering memory loss and nobody is telling him how any of this works. Uncertainty and not knowing just about anything is a common recurring element in the story.
  • Bakugan has the mechanical Bakugan (and to a lesser extent Helios) pull out new more powerful abilities towards the end of the season. Justified through off-screen upgrades.
  • Bleach:
    • The Hougyoku's original power was to dissolve the barrier between Hollow and Shinigami, known as hollowfication. This is the explanation for the creation of the modern Arrancar and also the Vizards. Later on, Aizen claims it actually alters reality based on the wishes of the user, but only if it's possible to achieve those wishes without the Hougyoku. However, it was hinted all along that the original explanation of its power was wrong. If it was supposed to cause hollowfication, why was its original use to try and reverse hollowfication instead? Also, Aizen's own knowledge has turned out to be inaccurate as well, so the second explanation may be as inaccurate as the first explanation.
    • In the Invasion Arc. the villain's zanpakutou is this. Kageroza's zanpakutou has the power to manipulate space/time. Then it's revealed to have the power to teleport and duplicate. Then it has the power to resurrect "dead" reigai. Then, when Ichigo is about to defeat the villain, his zanpakutou is revealed to have a cloning ability. The apparent damsel of the arc, Nozomi's zanpakutou has the power to drain reiatsu. Then it's revealed to be able absorb the attacks of anything thrown at it, combine it with her own power and throw it back as a more powerful attack. Then it's revealed that Kageroza's and Nozomi's power are two halves of the same original zanpakutou and, when recombined, the zanpakutou gains all the powers in combination which suddenly results in the power to destroy the entirety of Soul Society with a single activation command. And, somehow, the original zanpakutou never had any of these abilities at all until the owner, fed up with being treated as weak, turned evil and decided to obtain more power by splitting himself in two and recombining himself (how this makes him more powerful and gives him powers he never previously possessed is never explained).
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    • While being attacked by Yhwach, Ichigo spontaneously uses a new power to prevent himself from being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice. However, this is immediately explained in-story in a manner that ties in to both his spontaneous healing in his first fight with Kenpachi and with the power restoration technique that was used on Uryuu.
    • Each of Yhwach's elite guard shows off a new ability when they're about to be defeated, even if they should already be dead. And when that ability doesn't prevent them from being defeated, they pull out another new power. Lille Barro perhaps being the worse given that his first unexplained power-up comes after his head has been cut off, and the next after his own power has been turned against him.
  • In Code Geass, Suzaku's "live" command, which initially took over his body and forced him to survive by any means against his will, is significantly repurposed in Turn 22. Now Suzaku can consciously activate its effects in order to become a better fighter. The only way this makes sense if Suzaku can re-interpert what "live" is supposed to mean.
    • Part of it might be that it forces Suzaku to act in whatever way is most likely to not get him killed. For example, fighting both Kallen at her best and with a really powerful new machine and Bismarck Waldstein, the world's strongest Knight, cause his Geass to activate and take some other action, rather than running away, because they outclass him so much that exposing his back to them will give them the opportunity to kill him. In both cases, this results in him exposing himself to a seemingly greater danger - a very large explosion, and a rock slide, respectively - because he has a better chance of surviving those, and he does. During his second fight with Bismarck Waldstein, Suzaku makes his command kick in late enough to force him to win, which presumably works because he knows the Lancelot Albion has a better machine and the "live" effect allows him to not hold back, which cancels out any intimidation factor caused by Bismark's ability.
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    • The sudden ability to remember what happened under the command's effects, however, is completely unexplained, and has no other examples during the original TV series.
      • The possible implied explanation is that all the times the command activated before Turn 22, he was trying to either kill himself or let himself be killed. Now that he's not trying to die, the Geass doesn't react as strongly. We've seen that long term Geass effects be bent or broken completely.
  • Daily Life with Monster Girl:
    • Suu, being one of the few cast members based on a modern monster rather than a mythological one, tends to manifest new abilities whenever the plot requires it, with it being lampshaded that there's really not a lot of info on how slimes work. Most egregiously, at one point it's revealed that she's capable of reading minds.
    • Rachnera is a close second: her silk is used for a number of purposes, including the ability to make clothes on the fly, eavesdrop on others and make a decoy puppet that looked exactly like Kimihito.
  • Detective Conan: Conan can do anything. ANYTHING. He can drive a car, scuba dive, shoot a gun, drive a boat, drive a Jetski, fly a small plane, and FLY A HELICOPTER (which is completely different from flying a plane). Why can he do these things? Because he "learned in Hawaii!"
    • The knowledge of flying a helicopter is handwaved as him using a simulator at a local science center "when he was a kid" (which is still probably very different than flying an actual helicopter), which gets the rather amusing response from Kogoro of "You still are a kid!"
  • Digimon
    • The entire franchise is in LOVE with this trope. Granted, that is how it works. A favorite example of fans is in the Myotismon Saga/Arc where Gabumon and Agumon are magically able to unlock their Mega forms.
    • Digimon Frontier ESPECIALLY loved this trope. The whole point of the first sixteen or seventeen episodes was to literally get the spirits and evolve to higher levels. Especially displayed when Kouji Minamoto and Takuya Kanbara gain Double Spirit/ Fusion Evolution. With the power coming from an egg. No joke. Watch Episode 26.
  • Played for Laughs in The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.. Saiki has a seemingly-endless list of psychic powers, but he has trouble controlling them and they seem to cause him all kinds of trouble.
  • Dragon Ball
    • For most of the series whenever Akira Toriyama wanted to introduce a new technique, or to show off a better version of an established one, it would usually belong to Tien or Piccolo. Tien introduced Solar Flare, Aura Flare's, self replication, and flight while Piccolo introduced regeneration, size shifting, the Special Beam Cannon, and arm stretching.
    • The innate ability to sense energy is meant to be quite rare in DBZ, hence why Frieza's entire army (and even Frieza himself) utilize scouter devices. Vegeta relied on a scouter when we first meet him - although he knew not to trust them entirely - yet by the Namek Saga he randomly gained the ability to sense energy all on his own. With the Ki sensing, however, it wasn't that Frieza and his minions couldn't do it, but they didn't know that it even could be done. Vegeta mentioned that after he found out it was possible, he easily taught himself the ability. However, he isn't as good at it compare to the Earthlings. In Super, he learns Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan off-screen by training with Whis and, unlike Goku, he gained god energy without the ritual.
    • Goku reads Krillin's mind when he arrives on Namek. This is given some Lampshade Hanging, with Krillin asking "Where did you get such an ability from?!", and Goku replying he wasn't even sure that would work. The mind-reading does have some justification since Master Roshi and Korin can read minds better than him (Goku needs to physically touch someone for it to work), and Roshi claimed that any high-level martial artists can do it. In Super, he learns to combine Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan and the Kaio-Ken off-screen and no one knew about it, not even Vegeta who trained with Goku for three years in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. The reason why he never combined the Kaio-Ken with any of his other Super Saiyan forms was because it was physically impossible since Super Saiyan alone is a stressful power-up and combining the Kaio-Ken with it is suicide. Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan only works because it's a calm transformation with great energy control.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • While fighting Erigor, Natsu is knocked off a bridge without Happy to save him, but manages to change the make-up of his fire to use it to as a sort of rope. He never uses or even mentions it again. In the anime, this is explained as him emulating a trick Macao showed him when he was a kid. Macao's bio states that he uses the same fire magic as Bora, the first villain, and the anime shows this, so it's not like there's no precedent for it.
    • Also, Lucy's forced dismissal of Celestial Spirits, "learned" when fighting Sherry. It's not completely forgotten later on and is used a few more times (mostly as a joke, but to good effect when fighting Angel), but it comes completely out of nowhere. At least that power is a logical step up from her previous powers.
    • In order to defeat Zancrow, the Fire God Slayer, Natsu empties himself of magic so he can eat the previously inedible god flames, then somehow combines them with his own flames that were supposed to have run out. Later on against Master Hades, Natsu eats Laxus' lightning when it's stated that the last time he tried it made him sick. This time, it works, and the combination of powers gives Natsu a new Super Mode that he can use from then on.
    • Natsu tends to serve as a guinea pig for this sort of thing when it comes to introducing unique abilities for Dragon Slayers, with other Slayers stuck in a similar situation intentionally emulating him because, hey, if he could do it, why can't they? Devouring large amounts of magical energy to obtain Dragon Force? The guy he first used it against (Jellal) intentionally replicates the phenomena again to help him defeat Zero and Wendy does it herself with Magic-saturated air to defeat Ezel. Eating Laxus' lightning to gain a new Super Mode? Gajeel, Rogue in the Bad Future, and Sting all do the same thing with various elements to gain their own Super Modes.
  • Kenshiro's fighting style of Hokuto Shinken in Fist of the North Star is made of this trope, doing whatever Kenshiro happens to need at the time, including making mohawks' heads explode, giving Lin the ability to talk, making a thug's mouth move by itself to tell truthful answers to Kenshiro's questions, and even making a thug think he knows Hokuto Shinken, try to use it on Kenshiro, and utterly fail.
  • Parodied in Fullmetal Alchemist where Ed, separated from Al and feeling rather desperate, tries to "CONVENIENTLY AWAKEN TELEPATHIC POWERS!" to contact him. It doesn't work.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Suit Gundam had the "Super Napalm", an odd weapon that was used to destroy the remains of Side 7's Operation V project.
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam had Kamille pull out a lot of attacks out of his ass during the final two episodes, essentially doing Super Robot things in a Real Robot setting. It was later explained that the Zeta had a psycommu-based device called the Bio-Sensor, which amplified Kamille's power to do crazy stuff.
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam had Domon Kasshu take a page out of the above Kamille's book, except instead of limiting himself to the final episodes he indulged in the entire second half of the series, pulling out attacks like the "Burning Shadow" and "Burning Dash" that he would use in one match to counter one very specific opponent and then promptly never use again.
    • In Gundam AGE Cosmic Drive, the mobile suit gets upgrades increasingly frequently. Even after the most tear-jerkin scene, where Desil kills Yurin, Vargas stills pop up in the middle of the fight, proudly and happily presenting a new armor pack.
  • Inazuma Eleven anime develops itself into this. At first, many skills the team learn come from books and manuals, but by the third season, characters repeatly pull out new things whenever the plot demands them. In the movie, the protagonists learn to use super power abilities without any explaination just so they can beat the Ogre, who's argubly stronger than the series' world cup teams.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure's character tend to have unusual powers via their Stands, so this trope is quite common.
    • Stardust Crusaders: Stands were just introduced in this part, so their rules were less consistent and more prone to this. Most of these abilities are only used once.
      • The villain Dio Brando is virtually unstoppable because his Stand has the ability to stop time, so how do the heroes stop him? Jotaro Kujo's Stand suddenly gains the power to stop time, which also lets him move in Dio's time stop, despite the fact that its only powers so far were Super Strength and Super Speed. Of course, this is explainedby saying that Jotaro's stand has always had a smaller version of Dio's time stop power, and what had been seen as a Super Speed attack (his trademark "ORA ORA!") was actually him stopping time and then punching his foes' faces repeatedly (Jotaro never realized himself what was really happening, because he managed to stop time just briefly, and so it all happened very quickly before time went back to its regular flowing.
      • Star Platinum being able to stretch its finger with bullet-like force or inhale like a vacuum.
      • Kakyoin's and Polnareff's stands being able to shrink to insect size during the Lovers arc.
      • Avdol's stand being able to create a flame that can somehow "detect life".
    • Diamond Is Unbreakable:
      • This is the whole schtick behind Koichi's Stand, Echoes. It starts out as an egg, which hatches when he needs it to, allowing him to imprint sounds on a person, making it echo over and over in their heads. When that isn't enough, it evolves into a form that can imprint words onto objects, granting the object the property of that word. For instance, making a solid, pointy rock become bouncy by imprinting "bounce" on it. And later on it evolves again to allow him to increase gravity on a target to the point where it becomes helplessly pinned to the ground through some convoluted means of the words "three" and "freeze" (sort of) rhyming in English. Each new form has a smaller range, but Koichi can just choose to summon whichever version of the Stand he wants anyway. Koichi's pretty much a Swiss-Army Superpower among Stand users.
      • Near the end of the part, Yoshikage Kira gets an ability he calls "Bites the Dust," which he gains after killing a character threatening to expose him—but the fact that Kira killed him is also a problem. Bites the Dust not only erases that person's death through time travel, but also seals them in a "Groundhog Day" Loop where anyone who interrogates him about Kira will explode, and then always explode in each successive loop. It's convoluted and confusing, but the end result is that, by the end of the day, all the people who are a threat to Kira are killed without Kira having to lift a finger.
    • Part 5 protagonist Giorno eventually ends up with the mother of all new powers, the power to basically be immune to everything, even attacks he's not aware of, and to subject anyone he kills to be stuck in an endless loop of deaths for all eternity. This was, of course, to combat a Stand power that was so convoluted that the English speaking fandom made a meme out of not being able to understand how it worked.
    • Part 6 had the main villain getting the power to alter the universe's gravity, causing time to accelerate to the universe's end so that he could reset time to the way he wants it to be.
      • Earlier in the story, the same character used their Stand ability to blind himself by removing his own ability to see. Up to this point, the only things said Stand was able to do were create a hallucinogenic/sedative acid and remove either memories or Stand powers.
    • Parts 1 and 2 only avoided this trope by making ripple powers a sort of Swiss-Army Superpower.
  • Kogarashi from Kamen no Maid Guy has a large platter of various powers, many of whom only show up once to advance the plot (and cause massive amounts of comedic havoc for everyone else in the vicinity) and are never touched on again. The sheer bizarreness of most of these powers — like knowledge of every gourmet recipe in the universe and the ability to paralyze people with his voice — makes most of them fall squarely under the Rule of Funny.
  • Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic has an attempted invocation by Alibaba, who can't figure out how to master Djinn Equip yet. He then throws himself into a battle, hoping that when the chips are down he'll be able to do it. He's (almost) wrong and would have died were it not for a Big Damn Heroes moment by a friend of his.
  • Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro: Neuro's 666 tools of the Demon World and 7 Tools of the Demon Emperor. That's 673 different powers he can pull out of thin air whenever he needs to.
  • Being a Child Prodigy kunoichi in the Mashin Hero Wataru Series gives Himiko the all-time advantage of pulling off all kinds ninjutsus that will blow your sense of logic away; and was made even better with official submitted ideas from children viewers.
  • Mazinger Z had a number of powerful attacks that were only used once or twice and never seen again. Among them were a "Refined Rocket Punch" which was a tougher arm for Mazinger-Z that fired a much stronger Rocket Punch and the ability to magnetize its fingers.
  • In Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, the characters are frequently granted new karaoke songs (the weapon of choice in the series) whenever the ones in the previous episode didn't work. This becomes somewhat ridiculous, considering these upgrades are manifested by the goddess the protagonists are attempting to summon, and when they actually summon her, all she does is tell them to sing... Oh yeah, and that amnesia kiss? Lucia gets that too. Randomly.
  • In Naruto:
    • Members of the Uchiha clan frequently gets new abilities straight out of nowhere. Generally their powers, tie into the eyes in some fashion (copying moves, mild precognition, trapping someone in an illusion by looking at them, shooting black fire from the user's eyes, hypnotic abilities), but as the story progressed, members of the Uchiha clan began to show more and more powers don't have anything to do with that, with many of them coming out of nowhere.
      • In the first example, we have Itachi Uchiha who in his battle against Sasuke showed such ability as Susanoo which in principle is some sort of giant spirit robot which wields 2 of Japan's Sacred Treasures: the Totsuka Sword (Evidently another version of the Kusanagi) which here is a Laser Blade with sealing abilities, and the Yata Mirror which functions as a shield able to protect against anything. All this appeared directly out of nowhere and needed only in order to seal Orochimaru and give Sasuke in the future the same ability. And also later in the battle with Kabuto, Itachi will show such jutsu as Izanami, the purpose of which is incredibly contrived and wouldn't have worked on anyone except than the person Itachi was fighting at the time.
      • In the following example Sasuke Uchiha when he attacks Orochimaru, deciding he's not useful anymore. Orochimaru tries to use his Grand Theft Me on Sasuke, only for Sasuke somehow to turn it back on him without explaning how did he do it. And later his Hawk Summoning Contract, which he didn't have at the time he left Konoha, and is unlikely to have obtained from Orochimaru.
      • But the biggest example this trope, in the series is an Madara Uchiha. Since his resurrection, he just kept on revealing one new ability after the other to No-Sell everything they threw at him. Pitched to collide against a Rasen Shuriken? Activate the Rinnegan! Outnumbered five to one? Summon clones and have them use Susanoo! Faced with a barrage of elemental and disintegrating attacks? Summon a mountain busting Susanoo! The guy who summoned you got defeated? Break your contract and fight on with unlimited chakra! Once he is revived and no longer immortal, he retains somehow the ability to absorb chakra through his Senju cells and goes on to steal Hashirama's Senjutsu-enhanced Healing Factor. When he is crushed under a pyramid of sand enhanced by Shukaku he simply bursts out with Susanoo despite having no eyes! Getting crushed by nine Bijuu tail whips and losing an arm? Have White Zetsu return your right Rinnegan and give his own arm as a replacement! You're the one against nine Tailed Beasts? Suddenly appears ability Limbo which was created solely to catch the Tailed Beasts off guard so that Madara can easily defeat and seal them! And the list goes on...
      • And in the last example Obito Uchiha apparently following the general tradition his clan, showed a new ability out of nowhere. After his death he reverts to his younger self and immediately uses his shiny new Mangekyo Sharingans to teleport back to the world of the living, where he using chakra transfer transfers his eyes to Kakashi, stronger than they ever were when Obito was alive.
    • This has extended to Sasuke's allies. Karin and Jugo reveal miraculous healing powers when Sasuke is wounded after their battle with Killer Bee, though they did not use these abilities when Sasuke was bedridden from injuries after fighting with Deidara. Karin also gains the ability to use chains capable of restraining a giant wooden statue when absolutely no other ninja is capable of doing so during the war arc, and is handwaved as it being because she's an Uzumaki.
    • In order to get all the five kages to fight a revived Uchiha Madara, we learned Genma's team are able to use a watered down version of Tobirama's Hiraishin ("Flying Thunder God") technique and they quickly use it to transport the Raikage.
      • And apparently Minato didn't invent the Hiraishin, but the Second Hokage Senju Tobirama did, which has never once been hinted at.
    • Sakura revealed during the war arc that she learned Tsunade's Souzou Saisei three years ago and has been charging it this entire time. This despite the fact she'd recently lamented how incredibly weak she was, as little as a few days ago within the story itself. Not to mention that she stopped using it and hung back watching the fight almost immediately afterward.
    • Minato has apparently learned Sage mode AND get the Kyuubi cloak, two abilities he's not only never been hinted at having, but he only gained the Kyuubi chakra moments before his death.
    • Naruto is so symptomatic with this trope that the fandom has its own nickname for this kind of revelation, "Plot No Jutsu".
  • One Piece: Always present to some extentnote , though normally the powers are natural outgrowths of previously existing abilities or brand new items with some degree of How Do I Shot Web?. However, in the Enies Lobby Arc, it's practically endemic, with every single character pulling bizarre new abilities and weapons out of nowhere. Oda has said he doesn't like to do training arcs like in other Shonen series. Instead, he'll have a character pull out a new ability and then go into a flashback about how they trained for that ability off-screen.
    • Luffy learned how to use Gear Two and Gear Three. He supposedly perfected both techniques in the roughly week and a half after being beaten to near-death in the previous encounter. Luffy also learned how to flash-step via mimicry mid-battle.
    • As Sogeking, Usopp unveiled a brand new super-slingshot with tech-boosted firepower, range, and accuracy. It's not clear when exactly this weapon was built, as Usopp had been holding the Distress Ball for at least a day and a half before arriving at Enies Lobby, and the weapon definitely would've prevented much of that distress.
    • Nami showed off the upgraded Clima Tact, which Usopp also put together at a vague point in the timeline.
    • Sanji's Diable Jambe technique. He had more time than the others to figure this out, to some extent, as he hadn't been in the same dire battle as the other Strawhats from several hours prior. This ability in particular seemed almost tailor-made for the situation, as he was fighting an enemy that was especially resistant to normal blows, but not fire.
    • Zoro activated a brand-new nine-sword-style goddess form. Unlike the above, there was basically no attempt to explain this, and the form's properties are still very unclear. Earlier, Zoro had outright banked on this trope while fighting the literally Made of Iron Mr. 1. Zoro doesn't know how to cut steel yet, but is sure he'll figure it out with his life on the line. He does.
    • It works more logically after the Time Skip, as all the characters had two years to train, but aren't going to exhibit all of their powers at once. Across Fishman Island and later arcs, the Straw Hats seem to bust out very new powers according to plot demands. The most off-the-wall being that Brook discovered the true basis of his devil fruit, which isn't about bringing him back to life so much as it is about giving him super-soul-powers that not only include the ability to come back from the dead once, but also allow him to astral-project himself, and use ice attacks. He also developed a degree of limited Mind Control through his music.
    • The villains aren't immune to it either, as Blackbeard shows up at the end of Whitebeard's attack on Marine HQ and suddenly displays the ability to steal devil fruit powers and use two of them at once. No attempt is made to explain the exact mechanics of these abilities, except that the latter of which is explicitly attributed to Blackbeard himself, not his own Devil Fruit powers.
  • In Persona 4: The Animation, Yu tends to gain a new ability, such as Persona Change or Fusion, whenever a boss turns out to be too much to handle.
    • Teddie conveniently recalling that his persona, Kintoki-Douji, can cast Energy Shower, which (just as conveniently) cures Enervation ("old" status). However, Kintoki-Douji can cast Energy Shower in the games, and is one of his default spells. It will still feel like this to people watching that aren't familiar with the source material, however.
  • Quite common in Pokémon, although mildly justified based on the source material. However, an unusual variant of this trope also appears, in that Pokemon which Ash has never used before often turn out to be inordinately strong. One of the best examples of this is the Indigo League arc of the original Johto season; Ash's never-used-before Muk basically helps Ash sweep his way all the way up to the final match, whilst his likewise previously unused Krabby not only won its very first battle on the field, but promptly turned into the even more powerful Kingler.
    • Even earlier than that, Primeape went from a just-caught, untamed raging monster into Ash's loyal and highly effective bruiser who singlehandedly wins a Fighting type tournament. And is then promptly given away to a Fighting type specialist trainer.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Yes! Pretty Cure 5's Cure Aqua suddenly picked up the ability to turn her "Aqua Ribbon" baton into a sword. The reasoning behind this was that this allowed an awesome swordfight. The sword returned during The Movie for exactly the same reason.
    • Cure Beauty of Smile Pretty Cure! is in the same boat, having being shown to create an ice sword once during her fight against Joker, then doesn't do it again until their movie. Although, Cure Beauty does later use her ice sword(s) again in the series.
    • Heartcatch Pretty Cure was incredibly bad with this, with the girls constantly coming up with more attacks than those before them ever had and rarely using them afterwards. Cure Blossom was the worse offender, creating a tornado attack, a spiral energy Kamehame Hadoken attack to counter a foe's similar attack, a Christmas-themed attack with Cure Marine and just randomly throwing out pink energy like ki blasts.
      • Hilariously, Happiness Charge Pretty Cure runs with it. Megumi, after transforming into Cure Lovely for the first time, is told that she doesn't have set attacks and just make stuff up. She runs with it.
  • Haru, the lead in Rave Master, actually has the power to acquire new powers when he's in a sticky situation thanks to the Rave of Wisdom. The technical explanation is that he has a sword with ten (preset) forms, and he learns a new one whenever he happens to need it most. This manages to avoid being an Ass Pull at several points because he either obtained some powerful artifact to grant him another sword, he had to get some reforging done before he could access one form, and another form was used by a villain before he figured out how it worked.
  • Sailor Moon
    • Happens about once per story arc when it isn't leaning on the 11th-Hour Superpower instead. Also combines with So Last Season in that suddenly gaining new abilities usually means the characters cease using their old ones.
    • The rest of the cast just tend to get powerups because the plot usually needs them to get boosts around the same time Usagi does. Most egregious in the Makaiju arc in the Sailor Moon R anime, in which the four Guardian Senshi each get a Character Focus episode that concludes with them using a new ability to highlight their emotional connection to the episode's storyline. For the most part, they also never use these powers again outside their Character Focus episode.
  • Soul Eater has quite a few of these, both in manga and the anime — most blatantly in the last four episodes of the anime, where Black Star, Kid and Maka suddenly acquired Deus ex Machina-like superpowers in that order after being beat to the floor by the villains.
  • Star Driver is particularly bad about this. Practically every other episode in the series ends with Takuto suddenly revealing that he has some hidden power that just happens to work perfectly against whatever enemy he's fighting, and using said power to One-Hit KO his enemy. The show justifies it by saying that Takuto is far more experienced than most of his enemies, and he's deliberately holding back most of the time so they don't know how good he really is.
  • Super Atragon gives us a battleship that does this: The Ra gains several the following new abilities with no explanation; most are shown exactly once:
  • Ryoko of Tenchi Muyo! certainly falls into this category when she gets immobilized from the neck down and shoots a bunch of lasers from her hair. But as cool as this looked the attack did her no good whatsoever.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, full stop. To the point where Simon develops teleportation just to punch someone!
  • Spoofed in the fifth episode of Tiger & Bunny. When Wild Tiger and Barnaby are in a pinch and almost out of time, their Powered Armor automatically switches to the the brand new Good Luck mode Saito installed and they manage to incapacitate their opponent just before the clock runs out. So what does Good Luck Mode actually do?
    Barnaby: So this new mode increases our power?
    Saito: Not one bit! It makes you look cool, though.
    • Also spoofed in the eighth audio drama (a comedic Alternate Universe where Kotetsu and Barnaby are actual Buddy Cops), where the following exchange takes place as they confront the villain.
      Barnaby: No good! I'm out of ammunition!
      Kotetsu: Me too, Riders!
      Barnaby: But you know, I actually have pretty amazing powers! I just normally keep them secret!
      Kotetsu: Whaaat!? ... Actually, I got the exact same powers just yesterday!
  • In Transformers Victory, Deathsaurus uses Transformer-eating insects to try and kill Star Saber. They turn out to be vulnerable to cold, and then Victory Leo decides to reveal he has a freeze power.
  • In Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, this is effectively the main purpose of Mokona's 108 Secret Abilities power.
  • In the final Season 1 episode of Uchuu Senkan Yamato, Dessler appears out of nowhere in a ship and fires a giant energy blast at the Yamato. Sanada activates a device with reflects the beam back onto this source. This device was never seen used by the humans before (only Sanada seemed to know its existence), and despite its seeming usefulness, is never used or mentioned again.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the Millennium Items seem to have their standard powers, plus random other powers used in one or two situations, then forgotten for the rest of the show, even in situations where they would have been useful. For instance, in the manga Yugi holds his puzzle asking it to show him where Jounouchi is, and it does it.
    • There's also the Millennium Ring, which near the end of the Pegasus arc showed the power to manifest the effect of Duel Monsters cards as real, allowing Bakura to use Chain Energy to bind Pegasus' goons and summon the Man-Eater Bug to attack him. This power is never brought up again.
    • Being Merchandise-Driven, this often happens with brand new cards just revealed, and often these cards are A) highly situational to the point in any real deck they'd be dead weight, and B) never seen again after their one usage. On occasion the new card that is used is a real life card that they just didn't use in the show before (such as Skilled Dark Magician), other times the card is completely made up with powers verging on Game-Breaker levels (such as the entire Orichalcos archetype). A fine example of this is Xyz Dimension Splash - a card that can only be activated when banished facedown by an opponent (banishing effects are generally not something you waste on random facedowns), and has an effect that would only be useful to someone playing a Rank 8 deck, when it was used by Shark, whose deck is focused on Ranks 3-5. Conveniently, he drew it when facing an opponent who had a mass-banishing effect, while tag-teamed with an ally who used Rank 8s heavily.
    • The Winged Dragon of Ra is clearly this, revealing a new secret ability every single time it gets played. A full list of its abilities: its ATK and DEF are equal to the ATK and DEF of the monsters tributed to summon it, you can pay all but 1 Life Point to increase its attack by the same amount, you can pay 1000 Life Points to destroy a monster on the opponent's field, and you can tribute other monsters to add their ATK to Ra's ATK. And that doesn't count the requirement one needs to have Ancient Egyptian heritage and has to recite an ancient chant in order to summon it, and the immunity to card effects it shares with the other god cards. And the aforementioned effect to pay life points and increase Ra's attack? It can be reversed, allowing the user to to take back all of those attack points as life points by using De-Fusion.
    • Spoofed mercilessly (along with everything else) in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series.
      "Conveniently, my Millennium Puzzle allows me to put souls back into their original bodies!"
      "I activate a spell that allows our monsters to trade places! Which would be completely useless in any other situation."
      "I have placed a part of my soul inside the Millennium Puzzle, because apparently I can do that."
      "Now I shall use Mega-Ultra Chicken's secret ability that I just this second made up to convert my Life Points into Attack Points, merging me with the beast itself!"
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX season 4 has Trueman, who exhibits a new power in nearly every appearance, ranging from teleportation to cloning to possession to shapeshifting to ripping through the dimensional fabric to thought manipulation.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's the Crimson Dragon did it. The Crimson Dragon's abilities are never really explained at any point, so the Signers can showcase new ones at their leisure. Most notably the Savior/Majestic Dragon, which Yusei and Jack get during their duels against Dark Signers. It doesn't actually exist in their deck, it just appears on top whenever they need it.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL has the Shining Draw, which literally creates a card that will have the exact effects needed to beat the opponent, no matter how convoluted, up to a monster that lets him attack outside of his battle phase, an ability seen on no other card in the game.
    • Deconstructed in the second episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. Here, the new monsters in the series, Pendulum Monsters, are capable of being created by the main protagonist's pendant. However, he doesn't fully understand how they work right off the bat, and even believes that they only come out when he's in a pinch, and when he reveals how he got them to a crowd of people, he's accused by them of cheating in his duels.
  • For nearly a hundred episodes in Yu Yu Hakusho the audience has know Kurama to be a plant user. But in the fight against The Elder Toguro, he used a smoke screen? Where'd that come from?
    • The biggest offender was Yusuke being resurrected as a powerful half demon and then having a demon god take over his body conveniently to win.


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