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Passing The Torch / Anime & Manga

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  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Simon gives his Core Drill to Gimmy in the final episode.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX starts with this happening as Yugi Muto hands Judai Yuki a card and wishes him luck; the series' finale suggests there may be a Stable Time Loop involved.
  • Bi no Kyoujin: A huge point of dissension between Kabu and his clan is that he's the next head of the clan and him being involved with another man gets in the way of this big time. Not because of any moral problems, but because Kabu is supposed to produce heirs at some point in time and can only do so the old-fashioned way, as a female consort isn't optional in Yakuza society.
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  • Layla passes on her starring role at Kaleido Stage to Sora at the end of the first season of Kaleido Star (even though Sora remains the main character), having to drop out of the Stage after a shoulder injury sustained during intensive training for their Legendary Great Maneuver required surgery and made her unable to perform.
  • Fujiwara no Sai in Hikaru no Go disappears a baffling fifteen episodes before the end of the series, appearing only once more, in Hikaru's dream in the last episode. From inner monologues in previous episodes, we can assume that he's letting Hikaru take his place in the search for the Divine Move. He never does speak, but, he hands Hikaru his fan.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure could be the best manga example of this trope, having featured no less than six starring heroes. Sometimes the previous one retires himself, but it's more frequent that they just give up the lead and turn into a side character. (Each main character taking on the nickname JoJo (based on their alliterative names) is symbolic of the changeover.) This is most apparent with Joseph Joestar, who is the protagonist of Battle Tendency, becomes a part of the group of heroes in Stardust Crusaders, and is fully Demoted to Extra in Diamond is Unbreakable. This ends after Stone Ocean and the Cosmic Retcon; the next two JoJos have barely any relation to each other.
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  • In Naruto: Shippuden, there was an entire theme that the world had to be passed on to the younger generation. At least, until several older ninja showed up with uber-ninja-techniques. Ironically, the most powerful of those ninja, Madara Uchiha's, inability to entrust the younger generation with the future was his Fatal Flaw and the driving force behind his villainy, as he couldn't imagine anyone other than himself being able to bring peace onto the world, and only his version of said peace.
  • According to bonus material included with the DVDs of GaoGaiGar FINAL Grand Glorious Gathering, this would have happened after GaoGaiGar FINAL had the sequel series ("Project Z") not been canceled. With Guy and 3G apparently dead, Mamoru and Kaidou would've taken up the roles as lead heroes and Super Robot pilots at the helm of a new Earth-made robot called GaoGaiGo. While what exactly they were supposed to be piloting it against isn't clear, promotional pictures hint at an odd twist to the trope, namely one image that shows Genesic GaoGaiGar coming out of the sun, with an added implication that it may have been the villain of the series. Thankfully for GaoGaiGar fans, the story was eventually picked up in a series of light novels.
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  • In Strike Witches, Mio reveals that this is her ultimate goal in regards to Yoshika. It bombs when both Mio and Yoshika appear to lose their powers by the end of the second season. But Yoshika's powers return in the Movie, so it might work out.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Master Roshi (Or rather, Jackie Chun) passes the torch onto the younger generation, including Goku, Yamcha, Krillin, and Tenshinhan. He officially retires at the start of the 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament, saying that he was no longer their master. They still wear his colors in honor of him.
    • Son Goku tries to pass the torch to his son Gohan in the Cell arc, after the entirety of the Z anime and post-Raditz DB manga up until that point had been subtly but surely building up Gohan's amazing potential as more powerful than his father. He defeats Cell and the Cell Juniors at the Cell Games and assumes protagonist duties for the majority of the Buu arc, while him and his little brother Goten do the same for the Non-Serial Movie installments set in this time period (defeating Bojack, Broly, Bio-Broly, and the Legions of Hell / resurrect villains). Gohan, however, has no love for fighting and constantly slacks off, wanting to live a peaceful life, and much of his character arc throughout the Majin Buu arc involves, after a near-death experience where people spent a third of the saga assuming he'd died, training in the realm of the universe's gods, rekindling his fighting spirit, regaining the power that he'd lost with neglected training and then some, making him strong enough to defeat someone his father was terrified of facing (again), and finally learning to take his duties as earth's protector like his father before him seriously again, going on to absolutely kick Buu's ass when he finally returned to Earth. Right as he was actively defeating the Big Bad, though, Toriyama got bored of him, revealed Buu had come up with various plans to defeat him, and then brought Goku and Vegeta Back from the Dead with a convenient last-minute MacGuffin (the Potara earrings) to do what their sons couldn't and win the final battle, making the series end on the note of an outright inversion. Super at first makes Gohan lax again on his training, making him suffer an enormous defeat at Frieza's hands, and then makes him bounce back into the Uber tier by the time of the Tournament of Power, where it's shown he's still has unlimited enough potential to compete with godlike Saiyans. Gohan, however, wants nothing to do with his father's legacy by then, rather preferring to mantain this power so he can properly protect his family, a thing he wasn't able to do when Frieza invaded Earth.
    • Goku tries again with his second son Goten and his rival's son Trunks, which takes up a large amount of the Buu Saga's plot while Gohan is mistakenly believed to be dead, culminating in their fused form's childish nature and insistence on adhering to genre cliches having the collateral damage of destroying Gohan's buildup to this. They lose their passion for fighting when they reach their teen years after this. So, he trains his granddaughter Pan and the reborn Kid Buu, Uub, to be his successors. The anime-only sequel, GT, mostly ignored this, because Goku, and ultimately he was the only member of the cast to accomplish anything substantial. Super, as well, doesn't even see him bothering to find a successor anymore, though it is set chronologically before the end of Z and after the final Buu fight, so his successors-to-be for that super brief period of time aren't exactly old enough for him to try.
  • After their high school graduation, the four original girls of the Light Music Club in K-On! pass the torch to Azusa and her new band members, Ui and Jun, by running away laughing while the three new girls play "Fuwa Fuwa Time" in the background. The original four likely face a happy future since they have been accepted at the same prestigious women's university, but it still feels slightly bittersweet.
  • Eye Shield 21. Hiruma, Kurita, and the other second-years graduate. Hiruma, as team captain, passes leadership onto Sena, who leads the team a successful season the next year.
  • In the finale of Rurouni Kenshin, Kenshin who is now married to Kaoru with a child and is unable to perform Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu, passes his sakabato onto an older and wiser Yahiko.
  • Bleach displays an interesting take on this trope. Ichigo is the main character set up from the start to take out Aizen. Simple enough, except it turns out that some characters have a very different view of how the story should be, or is, unfolding. It's only at the end of Gin's life that we ever see the situation with Aizen from his point-of-view and it turns out his interpretation of the story was a little different to everyone else's. He believed he was the only one who was capable or even allowed to defeat Aizen and spent over a century plotting it. When he realised just how successfully Aizen had broken Ichigo's self-belief and resolve, he was even more convinced only he could defeat Aizen. Unfortunately for him, his revenge was part of Aizen's plan so he fails. As Aizen leaves him for dead, he spots the newly arrived and powered-up Ichigo. Upon seeing the strength in Ichigo's eyes, he realises that he is finally free to pass the torch (for defeating Aizen) onto Ichigo and dies. Gin was never the hero of Bleach, or even a good guy, but apparently inside his own head he was, and Ichigo was his successor.
  • While it doesn't happen to the main characters, in Pokémon Ash's former Lapras becomes leader of its herd in the episode where Ash reunites with it.
  • Subverted in Fairy Tail — Makarov wants to pass on leadership of the guild to Gildarts after quite a bit of setup, but he decrees in his acceptance letter that Makarov is now the new master. It ends up becoming a Running Gag that every time a new Master of Fairy Tail is appointed, they hand it right back to Makarov and simply tell him he's still the superior option for leading the guild.
  • Code Geass:Lelouch passes on Zero's helmet to Suzaku in the finale episode so that Suzaku can carry on as a 'knight of justice'.
  • This is the Central Theme in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers: even though the title character has no plans of retiring yet, she recognizes the need to train a new generation of worthy successors to herself and other Aces preemptively and devotes most of the season to just that (in-between fighting the new villains, adopting/saving her daughter, etc.). As later seasons show, she did a damn good job, too: her two star students go on to become aces of the Bureau in their own right, and her favorite even takes two students of her own (though the first apprenticeship doesn't work out with her for unrelated reasons).
  • Space Patrol Luluco has a meta example. In The Stinger for the very last episode, Luluco, now going as Miss Trigger, flying past and high fiving Akko Kagari, and announcing the Little Witch Academia anime.
  • In My Hero Academia, protagonist Izuku is one of the few powerless people in a world where Everyone is a Super, until he meets All Might, the world's greatest hero, and learns that a old injury has put a limit on how long he can use his superpowers. Seeing the spark of a true heroic spirit in the boy, All Might grooms Izuku to become his successor, not only passing on his power but hoping that Izuku can become the next big hero and the "Symbol of Peace". However, it's not a full torch-passing because All Might retains his own powers, at least until he expends the last of his power fighting his Evil Counterpart All For One, at which point he's forced to retire from heroics completely.
    • Much later into the manga, Izuku meets previous users of One For All who had cultivated and passed down the Quirk across generations. The scene where the first user's and Izuku's hands touch symbolizes that the Quirk has come full circle.
    • This even extends to his villainous Foil Tomura Shigaraki. Groomed to be the leader of the League of Villains by All Might's nemesis, he starts out as a psychotic brat who would give up easily when his plans were thwarted. Much like Izuku, Shigaraki grows and adapts very quickly and is well on his way to being one of the biggest villains around by the time All for One is put out of commission by All Might.
    • In the spin-off series Vigilante: My Hero Academia Illegals, Knuckle Duster retires from vigilantism after saving his daughter from Puppeteer Parasite that had turned her into the villain Kuin Hachisuka. This leaves his disciple Koichi, aka "The Crawler", to take the lead in continuing their legacy of unlicensed heroism.
  • Digimon Adventure 02 has its first episode end with Tai giving his goggles to Davis, giving this effect. The trope is also referenced at the end of the Digimon Emperor arc.
    Izzy: [looking over the exhausted juniors] That sure must've been some battle those guys fought. I think we older kids can take a lot of pride when we call these beginners the new Digidestined.
    Tai: You're right Izzy. The torch has been passed, and they didn't get burned once.
  • A recent stinger for the end of recent Pretty Cure installments is the leader of the newly ended series meeting up with the next leader and wishing her luck.

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