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"I think I'm catching the 'I-can't-do-this-or-go-there' Disease."
Usopp at various pre-timeskip points, One Piece
"It's true, I'm slipping. I used to lie a lot more often. Now, I can actually do these things."
Usopp post-timeskip, One Piece

  • Certainly a part of this trope is Accelerator from To Aru Majutsu no Index .. Happens a lot .. An example was when he "awakens" and immediately disposes of his enemy that was curbstomping him prior to him "awakening."
  • While DragonBall Z plays this trope to death (At first Goku loses to Raditz, then he comes back from the dead and beats the much stronger Nappa and Vegeta) special mention must go to Gohan, who went from wuss to greatness by the end of the Freeza saga, and even more greatness by the end of the Cell saga.
    • He took an even bigger level of badass around the end of the Buu saga. Though he didn't get to defeat Buu, he was effortlessly destroying him with his bare hands. Literally. Not a single Ki blast left his hands.

 Buu: "So, hotshot, you want to fight Majin Buu?"

Gohan: (smiling coldly) "Fight you? No. I want to kill you."

  • Ash Ketchum picked up one of these during the Sinnoh arc of Pokémon, hitting his stride after his second battle with Fantina.
    • Also, by the Battle Frontier season, May had become a really, really skilled Coordinator.
      • There's also Ash's Chimchar. At first it looked like a pretty weak Pokémon. Then it evolved into Monferno, then into Infernape, its final form. It seemed like a Butt Monkey at first, but due to its status as the DP era's woobie, it's grown to be one of the most powerful Pokémon on Ash's team.
        • This isn't entirely surprising, actually, since some people theorize that Chimchar was a Shout-Out to Gohan-- who was mentioned just one fandom ago.
    • Amazingly, the Team Rocket trio of all people seem to have nailed this trope perfectly in the new Best Wishes series. They've gone from being the Butt Monkeys of the entire show to competent and intimidating villains who manage to escape with style every time a plan is foiled.
      • To elaborate: Right on the second episode of Best Wishes, Jessie captures a Woobat off-screen. Later, they capture Pikachu and Iris's Axew, but Ash calls his new Pidove, to which Jessie calls Woobat. Cue No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. And even after Pikachu and Axew are freed, Jessie makes Woobat cheap-shot them while Pikachu is preparing a Thunderbolt. If it wasn't for Oshawott's Big Damn Heroes moment, they would have won, and instead of blasting off, they Smoke Out, leaving Pikachu and Axew all beat up and in dire need of medical care. I mean, damn!
      • To record, the last time they blasted off, Jessie and James were wearing their white duds. Ever since their promotion, they have bailed of their own accord when it hit the fan, rather than getting blasted off into the stratosphere. And now they have gone several episodes without showing up to fight Ash, and engaging in their own, criminal operation B-plot that they're being successful at. Whatever the bone Giovanni gave them was, they really want to prove they're worth it by any means necessary.
      • Not to mention James did this all without any Pokémon until he got Yamask in BW 025.
      • Recently, they've returned to their old white uniforms and standard Pokémon-stealing plots....but they still keep their new high-tech weaponry, serious attitude about their missions, statuses as important members of the team, and they have yet to be blasted off.
      • Don't forget...jetpacks.
  • Once Ellis from El Cazador de la Bruja gains dominance over her witch powers--meaning she can call them forth at will and control them--it's a whole new ballgame. Especially for fat formerly-transvestite bounty hunters.
  • One particularly magnificent example is Eve from Black Cat, who begins the story as a Tyke Bomb-turned-Damsel-In-Distress before joining the heroes as the Tagalong Kid. For the first few volumes it seems all she ever does is get captured or beaten by whatever villain the heroes are facing this chapter, but Eve resolves not to be The Load after the first time this happens... thus beginning a series-long tale of Character Development and badass level-grinding, ending with Eve being one of the strongest and most versatile fighters in the whole series. Hot damn.
  • In Fairy Tail, Lucy, the female lead, is constantly shown to be mostly incompetent as a fighter throughout the series, often requiring outside aid to finish fights. However, as of the X791 Arc, she has suddenly gained the ability to summon two Celestial Spirits at once. This, combined with her obtaining ten of the twelve best Celestial Spirit keys, makes her quite the formidable foe.
  • In the Anime Zero no Tsukaima, Main Character Hiraga Saito gets a level of badass in the very beginning, going from ordinary Japanese Teen to a Gandalf. His ability allows him to wield any object intended as a weapon with incredible skill as well as enhancing his physical strength and agility while doing so. As for Lousie, his master, while she is and is always incapable of casting any of the four basic elements of magic, its later revealed that her affinity is to the Void element, making her an extremely powerful Mage, despite the cast time involved in casting Void-based spells.
  • Kouhei from Moon Phase, previously a bumbling magic-less thick-head, suddenly becomes a powerful mage after taking some serious Training From Hell after the 20th episode.
  • Ryuroden: here is Shiro at the start of the manga in the bottom panel. And there's Shiro about sixty chapters later. At first a normal kid sent to the realm of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms who barely manages to escape several kidnap attempts, to a badass matrial arts expert. Well done, Shiro. Well done.
  • Akasaka in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni definitely did some Level Grinding in Badass between his first fight against the Yamainu mid-first season and the rematch against them by the end of the second one.
    • And how about Keiichi Maebara toward the end of the second season? Granted, he went the inspirational leader route rather than the ass-kicking one, but he did it with such panache that I almost expected him to bust out a pair of distinctive pointy orange sunglasses and scream "GATTAI!"
    • What about Rika? In the Eye Opening arc, she quickly goes from a cute little girl to a person who would rather stab herself in the neck seven times than allow Shion the pleasure of torturing her.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni lets almost every character get at least one of these. Most notably, Shannon going from the blushing Moe maid in the first arc who's among the first to die to insanely awesome in the second, or George and Jessica's fights against Ronove and Gaap in the fourth arc... not to mention most of the adults, including but not limited to Rudolf and Kyrie's fight (and VICTORY) against demonic stake-girls or Krauss showing off his mad boxing skills against a giant goat-headed butler. It's pretty much a guarantee that by the time this series ends there won't be a character left who hasn't become a total badass.
    • Except Kanon, he will never be badass. For Kanon, it turns out that he intentionally doesn't take any level in badass because he's revealed to be rather lazy when it comes to battling no matter what the situation to counteract Shannon who always becomes the badass of the two.
    • As of the fifth arc, Battler has them all beat. And it was awesome.
    • Even Kanon gained a major one in Episode 6, with a Big Damn Heroes moment rivaling that of Episode 5.
  • In the first season of Shakugan no Shana, Hecate (an important member of the Evil Council) was portrayed as a cute, harmless girl who just prayed all the time and was doted on by another member. Even in the anime-original climax arc, the most she did was "synchronize". Her eventual reappearance in the second season quickly corrects this notion with liberal Beam Spam, Spheres Of Destruction, and a loaded "gun" to the face.
    • Yuji of Shakugan no Shana fits the "super-powered girlfriends do the fighting for him" part, but eventually takes a level in badass near the end of the second season. Suddenly he's impaling people with giant swords, blowing them up with balls of silver fire and crushing necks. Wow.
  • Kei Kurono of Gantz starts the series as a repulsively selfish, sex-obsessed high school brat, but after surviving multiple rounds of the Gantz game, a berserk, suicidal Death Seeker phase, and the brutal, splattering deaths of all of the people he never realized he actually cared about, he becomes a hardcore survival machine and capable leader. Also happens to a lesser extent to anyone who survives a round of Gantz...
    • Kurono is in interesting case since his natural survival instincts make him a serious badass right from the first time he puts on the suit- he debatably never "levels up" at least not with regards to his own skill. However his Character Development into the Gantz team's leader turns the team from an assorted group of bewildered innocents who are mostly fodder into a hardcore combat unit who can cut their way through armies of enemies without losing a man. This makes him many times more Badass.
  • Naruto
    • Sakura post-timeskip is another good example. Training with Tsunade, or any of the Sannin for that matter, pays off in many levels in Badass. Given she was able to fight nearly equal standing with Chiyo helping her against Sasori, that's a huge leap.
    • Shikamaru might have been the first of the Konoha gang to make chuunin, but he was regarded as not being very strong and mostly a Brilliant but Lazy Teen Genius. That changed when his teacher Asuma was killed and he took down an Akatsuki almost singlehandedly and became more of a Badass Bookworm.
      • Even the Masked Madara admits that Shikamaru as an enemy isn't a good thing.
    • Recently, Konohamaru was revealed to have taken one, as he is now able to use the Rasengan and take on one of Pain's bodies. He didn't really win, but it still counts.
    • Let's not forget a not so little detail... The mere fact that the always shy and insecure Hinata was willing to face Pain of all people to help Naruto, and even manages to briefly hold him back until he unleashed the attack that got her partially down, proves that Hinata has finally taken levels in badass too
      • Naruto himself has recognized her strength.
    • Naruto himself has taken a few levels too. He was already reasonably badass going into Part 2, Idiot Hero tendencies aside. But after Sage training, he takes it to new levels. As in, he takes down four of Pain's bodies, basically by himself. And finally perfected the jutsu that the Fourth Hokage (one of the greatest ninja in history) never managed to pull off. Afterward, he became known to many readers as GARuto.
      • However, he tops himself in chapter 505 when he shows the results of his new seal and his mastery of the Kyuubi's chakra by curb stomping Kisame around, Kisame only survives this because Naruto accidentally gets his foot stuck in a wall thanks to his new power.
      • No, he tops himself in Chapter 545 when he creates two new versions of the Rasengen, creates a minature Rasenshuriken with his finger, summon the giant frog Gamahiro, and creates dozens of clones without breaking a sweat.
      • Lets look at 553-first couple pages he defeats the second Tsuchikage, Mu with a little help from Gaara. Then, he takes on the Third Raikage on his own, and beats the strongest Raikage by turning his own attack on himself. 560, nearly kills Madara Uchiha's Edo Tensei form twice (with help from Onoki and Gaara still, but man), 561, Kyubi finally decides to work with him and gives him his power willingly with no catch-and destroys Madara's Edo Tensei forest with a Zerg Rush / Sphere of Destruction combo. Oh...did I mention this was a clone doing all this? The real Naruto was coordinating his clones on all the fronts of the War, and now with a vote of confidence from the Kages (who are now taking on Madara), he fights the Masked Madara head on. His first move? HEADBUTT!
    • Are you seriously forgetting Rock Lee, he was a nobody and weakling at first, had no skills in ninjutsu or genjutsu and could barely use taijutsu. Roll Might Guy's influence... He can single-handedly take on Gaara who would have lost their battle if not for use of the sand shielding, and was also considered the second most powerful enemy in the Chunin Exams arc, before that officially beat the resident cool emo boy Sasuke Uchiha, and would have killed him had it not been for Gai and the tortoise summon, take on Kimmimaro, who was considered to be on the level of even Orochimaru and give him a run for his money in drunken mode, and although filler beat down Raiga while in drunk mode and kicked major ass in the movies as well. He Took A Level in Badass alright.
    • Kabuto Yakushi, Orochimaru's former minion, recently took some of his master's remains into his own body, and as a result took on some of the old snake's powers. Specifically, Impure World Resurrection, the power to revive a dead person as a loyal servant. Which he then used on several fallen Akatsuki members, bringing five of the most dangerous individuals on the planet under his total control and almost instantly catapulting himself from 'tough but manageable' to 'one of the most powerful people in the series'. His badass level rose even farther when it turned out he also has all six of the dead hosts under his control, as well as other dead ninja he chose specifically for their badass status. Magnificent Bastard, Y/Y?
    • Tobi/Madara. In his introduction he was shown as Akatsuki's Plucky Comic Relief (Which is still impressive, given it's Akatsuki) But recently has been revealed as the most likely candidate for Final Villain
    • In the latest chapter Chouji has an epic level up after his Heroic BSOD about facing the Reanimation of his former sensei, Asuma. He actually manages to produce his clan's Butterfly Wings alone- a feat that normally requires a special pill- shocking everyone on the field, including his own father.
    • And right before that, Ino Yamanaka graduated from a Faux Action Girl who felt like The Load, to an Action Girl who keeps her cool even in the worst circumstances and gives her jutsus very fast and very effective uses.
    • While Kages have always been badass, Oonoki stands out for not being as badass as A or as adored as Gaara, admitting being a 'fence sitter'. It's first revealed that his Dust Release is an ability a level above normal Kekkei Genkai, consisting of three elements. Then he goes out to reinforce Gaara on the front when facing the Kages since his old teacher Mu is there. Manages to stalemate the immortal Mu for quite a bit despite his age and not being able to see or sense him due to Mu's invisibility. However, his biggest showing is against Madara Uchiha himself. His Dotons make it hard for Madara to counter, and when he awakens the Rinnegan and uses Susanoo to pull a meteor out of the sky, Onoki just flies up and stops it, lightening it to the point where he can support it. Then he survives the second meteor, and helps the other Kages fight Madara himself, turning A into an even faster and stronger Lightning Bruiser, a combo that utterly shatters Madara's Susanoo. Not bad for an old fence sitter.
    • Gaara of course has shown he is still powerful despite losing the Shukaku. We see first instances of this when he blocks Amaterasu three times in his short battle with Sasuke. Then doing the war, he effortlessly curbstomps his father despite his Father having the advantage. Finally? He defeats arguably the strongest Kage there-the Second Mizukage. Who even recognizes that Gaara is the "Golden Egg" of the Kages.
    • While Sage Mode may have been the first significant badass level Naruto took, it's by no mean the most powerful. He takes his Kyuubi Chakra Mode a level higher by reconciling with Kurama itself, accessing it's full power and attains the ability to generate a full nine-tailed fox cloak. This new power is enough to deflect FIVE Tailed Beast Balls, blast five tailed beasts away using the power of his roar alone, and match their combined Tailed Beast Ball with a single humoungus one of his own. He does this all while under a five minute time limit, which will supposedly go away when he transform in future occasions.
  • In Animerica there's Makoto, who's been shown several times in both Canon and specials that he can kick ass even while being the Plucky Comic Relief at the same time.
    • There's also Takuya, who's first sign of badassery was shown when he saved Mischa from Kiyone by finally being able to conjure up a powerful lightning bolt and aim it at him perfectly. The second was when he stood up against Thalin by cleverly making use of his special Killer Yoyo and totally pwning him with it. It's because of these acts that he earns the heart of his Love Interest. You see Takuya, you're not such a loser after all!
    • Where to begin with Ron?! Well, he turns the Big Bad good with a classic You Are Not Alone speech, saves his girlfriend and her brother by beating up two of the major villains in a funny, yet awesome manner, and finally turns into a Badass Normal when he fights and defeats Shiragane, an act which prompts Kiyone to say that he's even better than him in battle. Ron truly deserves his place as a Regular Character.
    • Janine...just Janine. She went from being The Chick to just plain awesome during her fight against Malin. You heard me. JANINE. ACTUALLY. FIGHTS. After spending the last season being The Woobie, she finally decides to stop playing the victim and shows the audience what shes capable of. "Im so sick of being the Damsel in Distress, its time I showed everyone that I can fight!" Not only does she use the self-defense Kasuse taught her, she uses her powers offensively for the first time in a crazy, yet epic manner. Fans and haters of her character rejoiced as she had finally overcome her pacifistic nature and shows that she has gone through major Character Development since Season 2. Lets not forget her one-liner to Malin:

  Janine:"I’m not here to play around! Hand over my boyfriend, or I will give you a makeover the world will not forget!"

  • Takeru "TK" Takaishi went from cute Tagalong Kid in Digimon Adventure to a "veteran" Chosen who unflinchingly took the Digimon Kaiser/Emperor's whip strikes before beating the crap out of him in Digimon Adventure 02.
  • Gunbuster: Noriko. Takaya. Goes from being a hopeless, crybaby high school student with no self-esteem to the legendary savior of humanity, who is still remembered (although her name got mangled a bit) 12,000 years following her victory (which, mind you, annihilated the Galactic Core). How, you may ask? "Hard work and guts!"
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
    • Simon is a pretty crazy example. Starting the series as a digger living underground, he then got by as The So-Called Coward sidekick to the living incarnation of awesome, suffers a Heroic BSOD, but bounces back, hard, taking new levels in badass so frequently that he maxes out. Then he takes EVEN MORE LEVELS.
    • Simon didn't multiclass into Badass. It's his Prestige Class.
    • There's also Viral, who, in a total inversion of Good Is Dumb, makes a Heel Face Turn that changes him from a heavily Villain Decayed Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, to a guy that who in his first fight along with Simon destroys an entire fleet of enemies by the sheer force of their combined awesomeness.
    • Kittan! After failing to become the leader of the Gurren brigade, he pretty much became a really loud wall-flower, if not just a loud follower of Simon. But when the Super Galaxy Dai-gurren was trapped in super dense space and was going to be crushed, he volunteered for a suicide mission, stole a kiss from Yoko, failed and died, but didn't and reappeared carrying a drill that broke off from the Gurren Lagann, and then in a spectacular display of badassery melded the drill to his robot's arm and performed his own version of the Giga Drill Breaker, saving the Super Galaxy Dai-gurren and paying the ultimate sacrifice. All within 3 minutes.
      • And the time in the raw version where Kittan died was the exact same time when Kamina died.
    • Funnily enough, this even applies to Kamina; he gets his ass kicked the first time he tries to fight Viral in a mecha battle without the aid of Simon and the Lagann, but the next time they fight 1-on-1, he's able to easily hold his own with just the Gurren.

 Viral: "What the? How did he get so good so fast?"

    • In The Movie, we even get Nia piloting her own Ganmen in the final battle, who normally tends to not be one of the fighting characters, more serving as The Chick than as an actual pilot.
  • Shiro Emiya, the most pathetic mage in the Fifth Holy Grail War. He gets pretty badass by the end of the series. Give him another couple of years, and you get Archer, A! MAN! SO! EPIC!, they had to create the word gar GAR! to describe people like him.
    • Only in the original game, unfortunately. In the Fate route and the anime (which follows Fate fairly closely) Shirou's still rather pathetic at the end of the series and never quite manages to get rid of his "Fate/Stay in the Kitchen" image despite changing that attitude about halfway through the story. In Unlimited Blade Works and Heaven's Feel, on the other hand, he racks up a laundry list of Crowning Moments of Awesome and arguably becomes even more Badass than Archer at his best thanks to his unstoppable Determinator status.
    • Now that the Unlimited Blade Works was released we can see how Shirou becomes more Badass especially in his epic fight with the King of Heroes Gilgamesh.
    • Also of note is Fate/Zero Master of Servant Rider, Waver Velvet. A resident Butt Monkey of the Magic Association London branch's Clock Tower, he gets kicked around for not having an established family. He's frail, maybe adept at best at magic, and is wholly focused on proving he's not a Butt Monkey. Cut to the end of the Holy Grail War, and he stands up to Gilgamesh, the strongest Servant, and stands up for Rider, and lives to tell about it. And by the end of Stay/Night, he has become one of the top teachers and most respected people in the Clock Tower, even taking his former tormentor's title.
  • China is not known to be the biggest badass around, him being the resident Really Seven Hundred Years Old Immortal Butt Monkey; however, the anime (and once in the webcomic) give him a moment of beating the crap out of both Germany and Japan (despite the former having a gun and the latter weilding a katana) singlehandedly using only his Wok of Doom. This promoted him to Badass Adorable and Cute Bruiser.
  • Kazuma of Kaze no Stigma, in the backstory. Exiled a few years ago for getting his ass handed to him by his little cousin, by the present action he's become the most badass character in the show, basically handily defeating anyone and everyone (including his dad) without breaking a sweat.
  • This sums of the basic plot of History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi.
  • Series Butt Monkey Keitaro spends the eleventh volume of the Love Hina manga off on an archeology dig with Seta and returns an omnicapable dreamboat that can face Motoko on near-equal terms and generally radiates awesome. Fans are split between those who see this as a logical outgrowth of man's growing self-confidence and the ones who call it a near-Jump the Shark moment for abandoning the premise of the "adorkable" landlord steadily earning ever deeper love/respect from tenants who in several cases casually outclass him. This was foreshadowed when it was mentioned that Seta, Keitaro's Badass mentor, failed the exam for Tokyo University three times as well.
  • In the Read or Die OAV, Wendy Earhart is just a goofy, clumsy comic relief secretary. Then in the sequel R.O.D. the TV, she's a cold uber-assistant; assassinating non-combatant scientists and ordering The Men in Black to conquer countries.
  • Itsuki Iba, the president of Astral in Rental Magica, starts off as largely useless except for a magic eye that frequently hurts him to use, and is constantly rescued by the others. Eventually, he starts studying martial arts as a semi-magical discipline, and combines that with his magical sight to become fairly effective, at least in situations where hand-to-hand combat becomes necessary. Otherwise, he's still largely useless.
  • Sheeta in Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle in the Sky, starts off the movie as a quiet damsel in distress. By the end of the film, she's allowing the Big Bad to shoot off her pigtails and reacting with only a wince.
    • Of course, she did rescue herself right in the opening of the movie by smacking a guard with a bottle and jumping out of the airship.
      • That would be the Big Bad before he took his own level in Badass.
  • Maya in Fafner of the Azure. Sat on the sidelines for the first two thirds of the series, finally got her chance to pilot... and turned out to be an absolutely awesome sniper.
  • In Grendizer, Duke Fleed's neighbor and best friend was the Naive Everygirl Hikaru Makiba, who soon becomes a Distressed Damsel. She realizes this won't get her anywhere, so she's Put on a Bus for some episodes and returns both wearing sexier clothing (miniskirts, boots and denim > gowns and pretty hats) and with a tougher, yet still gentle attitude. By the end of the series, Hikaru has become one of Duke's more trusty sidekicks, along with Koji and Maria Grace.
  • The robot Mic Sounders the 13th from GaoGaiGar actually seemed to be built around this theme. In his first appearance, he was little more than a gigantic little kid's toy with an annoying, childlike personality who can't even hope to scratch the Monster of the Week. (In fact, he gets flicked away as nothing more than a fly) However, then his restraints are deactivated, and he transforms into his "Boom Robo" mode, with a keytar and soundstage powerful enough to tear giant robots apart at the molecular level... and then levels back down after he's done fighting, into his lame toy-looking "Cosmo Mode" again. Apparently his fluctuating Badass level was on purpose: He could accidentally destroy the Earth otherwise.
    • A more traditional example (and arguably a far more EPIC one) would be Mamoru. When the series starts, Mamoru is a grade school kid whose only claim to fame is his ability to fly and purify Zonder cores; he's very much the Tagalong Kid for the first few dozen episodes, as demonstrated in episode 4 when he tried to purify a Zonder on his own and almost got himself killed. Shortly after the Primevals make their appearance, however, Mamoru discovers that he's an alien (something we've known since the first episode) and gets a powerup from Galeon that allows him to purify Primeval cores as well as Zonder cores. Not long after that, the little tyke starts racking up Crowning Moments Of Awesome almost as fast as Guy. This list includes, but is by no means limited to:
      • Bursting through the floor of the Main Order Room while riding Galeon to save the 3G bridge crew from being mind controlled by the Ear and Nail Primevals, and then demanding that said Primevals fight him (mind you, these are the same Primevals that trade blows with 3G's giant robots every episode).
      • Saving Hana from the strongest Zonder Robo in the series.
      • Stalling the Zonuda, which even GaoGaiGar almost didn't beat, long enough for Guy to show up.
      • Facing Pei La Cain in single combat in FINAL and vaporizing him with purification.
  • Aki in Tekkaman Blade was The Chick in the first series, but in the second, takes at least two levels in Badass: Not only has she become the hard-nosed commander of the Space Knights in the intervening ten years, but has also become a Tekkaman herself. This is revealed by her Tek Setting (with her own Pegas robot, even!) and slaughtering an entire squad of Radam Tekkamen that had been giving the heroes problems, just to show them how it's done.
  • Previously in Claymore, Raki who served as The Load and Morality Pet to the main character turns into a badass swordsman over the timeskip, using an ordinary blade to slay a Youma in pretty much two strokes. And then going "Pimpin!", all Dante-like.
    • Clare herself also takes several levels in badass throughout the course of the series.
      • Not only Clare. All of the Sexy Seven have since discovered that by carefully managing their yoki flow while in hiding during the Time Skip, they've achieved such mastery of it that e.g. a timid former Rank 40 (out of 47) can now effortlessly take down a whole team of modern Claymores without hurting them much. It is implied that had most Claymores actually survived for as long as the Sexy Seven have, they would have achieved such power, too... but that's exactly what The Organization doesn't want.
    • Clarice, the new number 47, deserves to recognition BIG TIME. She was deemed a failure in the organization because her hair color remained unchanged after the transformation process and was only kept because the organization was low on warriors. Because of this, she was shunned and looked down upon by the other warriors, and she had an extremely timid personality. She had an eye opening experience when she was put in charge of controlling Miata and was assigned to assassinate Galatea which failed in Rabona. By chapter 108, she's not only single handedly killing yoma, but she's also ordering a bunch of human soldiers around. Way to go, girl!
  • As Mahou Sensei Negima completed its transformation into a fighting Shounen, the (many) characters went and plundered the Badass warehouse :
    • The Library Trio (Nodoka, Yue, and Haruna) went from adventurous Cute Bookworms to Badass Bookworms via, respectively, looting powerful artifact to multiply her combat usefulness, becoming a full-blown Black Mage Magician Girl, and lucking out on the Superpower Lottery.
      • Nodoka in particular gets one when she chooses to stand up to one of Fate's companions, even though he just erased two of her friends from existence in front of her. And then, she grabs his weapon out of his hands and runs away with it.
    • Asuna has recovered from negative levels, remembering long-buried memories of past powers to become the kind of Barrier Maiden that can bloody the nose of any Big Bad that tries to mess with her.
    • Kuu Fei has gone from just knowing Waif Fu to mountain-smashingly mastering it.
    • Negi himself very quickly took one to stop being an Inept Mage. Ever since, he's kept on growing badasser, especially since he's started using Black Magic.
      • Badasser?
        • Badassiest.
    • And Makie, too! Ever since she got her atrifact, she put that gym ribbon of hers to impressively good use.
    • Most terrifying of all, during the big Mahora vs. Cosmo Entelecheia fight, it was revealed that Negi's irresistibly inspirational Shounen-Let's-All-Do-Our-Best-Aura has affected even EVA: she reveals a new spell she's been working on, designed for eliminating multiple top-tier opponent all at once, with the drawback of not particularly distinguishing friend from foe, as anyone teasing her about being inspired by Negi found out. Congratulations, Negi: Your example has lead one of the most powerful mages, an immortal vampire, to work harder. At being unspeakably dangerous. And now, we're all gonna die.
      • Actually, that spell only works on "puppets", as Evangeline put it. i.e. It only works on people created within Mundus Magicus, and has no effect on actual humans.
  • Erstin Ho got this treatment in the anime-to-manga transposition of Mai-Otome. In the former, she was The Mole for the Schwartz, who was too weak and gentle to actually fight, got hurt quite often and eventually died in a very heart-breaking manner. In the manga, however, while retaining her meek and gentle nature, she's shown as an extremely capable and powerful fighter, almost defeating Arika of all people in the first volume (even if she was, at that point, under Shiho's mind control), and later, after a very close brush with death, receiving a Meister Robe just like Arika and Nina, and playing a vital role in defeating Evil Manga Sergei. This is mainly due to manga Erstin being a master of Boob Fu, and has trained her breasts to be lethal weapons.
    • Just so we're clear here: her breasts are literally lethal weapons.
  • In the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Saji Crossroad goes from Ordinary High School Student to Celestial Being's Tag Along Guy and then to Setsuna's partner and pilot of the 00-Raiser. His girlfriend Louise Halevy, crippled in season 1 and taken in by the A-Laws, becomes a Broken Bird Dark Action Girl. And Setsuna himself pretty much lives to take levels in badass, to the point of becoming The Ultimate Innovator almost at the end of the series. And that Patrick's Heel Face Turn actually made him stronger than he ever was... enough to survive an Heroic Sacrifice and earning his and Kati's happy ending. That, and Patrick actually managed to kill something in episode 23 of Season 2, a feat the Ace Pilot of the former Advanced European Union had never carried out on-screen. Graham Aker, on the other hand, is actually a subversion of this trope, as he already was badass but got turned into a revenge-seeking pissed-off MS pilot. (So Saji and Graham pretty much manage to switch around.) To some degree, Allelujah does this at least twice: First time is actually in episode 25 of the first season, when Allelujah and Hallelujah merge together for a while, only to have that ability taken away by killing Hallelujah, but letting Allelujah survive (it doesn't make much sense, since they're two minds in one body), and the second time when Setsuna resurrects Hallelujah by healing Allelujah's brain with an overflow of GN Particles. The two minds fuse again and kick ass for a second time against Healing Care. They make a return in the movie and put on a good show, buying Setsuna enough time to complete his mission.
  • This trope is the major theme in Mobile Suit Gundam Age. As the series is divided into three separate generations, it's only natural that the original protagonists grow from simple, traditional Gundam pilots into real badasses. For example, AGE-1 pilot Flit Asuno eventually becomes a Vice Admiral and base commander for the Earth Federation, then retires into a Badass Grandpa and The Obi-Wan to his grandson Kio. Likewise, AGE-2 pilot Asemu Asuno grows up to become the "Super Pilot" of the Federation (complete with the badass monicker White Devil), then goes MIA to become Captain Ash, leader of the Bisidian space pirates. Now to see what Kio becomes...
  • Hellsing's Seras Victoria first takes a level in badass in the first chapter when Alucard turns her into a vampire. Later, when she finally drinks blood, she's suddenly so badass that a platoon of battle-hardened vampire soldiers quake in fear just looking at her.
    • Actually, it's not the first time she drinks blood (Sir Hellsing forced her to drink a few drops of her own blood): Bernadette is the first man she drains completely, soul included, and he offered it to her - mix a Badass Normal with a vampire, you get...?
  • One Piece:
    • Buggy mans up considerably, in a way, after everyone escapes Impel Down and his past as a member of Gold Roger's crew is revealed, leading the Marines and most of the escapees to believe that he's as strong as his old mate Shanks, who is now an Emperor. With this newfound fame, he declares his intention to sail into Marineford and strike at Whitebeard, the strongest man in the world. He may still be a wimp, but he's a badass wimp.
    • Mr. 2, on the other hand, has most definitely taken a level in badass. Several even. To the point where he stayed behind in Impel Down in order to fight the warden Magellan (who neither Luffy, the high-ranking Revolutionary Ivankov, or the Blackbeard Pirates could beat) alone and surrounded by guards while the rest of the escaped prisoners flee from the prison. And according to the first Mini-Series since the Time Skip, he somehow managed to survive, escape, and is now ruling over the secret sanctuary hidden in the prison.
    • Who could have forgotten everyone's favorite coward Coby? When you first meet him in the second chapter of the manga (or first episode of the anime), he cowers in fear whenever Alvida's name is even mentioned. Compare that to right after the Enies Lobby arc when it definately appears as if Garp beat a level of badass into him, going so far as to know one of the abilities the enemies during the arc itself gave the Straw Hats a great deal of trouble with. He seemed to gain another level at the end of the Marineford arc, when he stared down Admiral Akainu, the man who killed Portgas D. Ace with his bare hands and blew off half of Whitebeard's face in order to save Luffy's life. Mind you, he collapsed after Shanks released his Haki, but that deserves a mention mostly thanks to the fact that his decision changed the course of the war and history as the world knows it.
    • He's also awakend a Haki ability of his own during the Whitebeard War.
    • With the latest timeskip, the Straw Hats are liable to reach an unprecedented level of badass.
      • Usopp and Nami prove it with Usopp easily taking out three Pirates impersonating the Strawhat Crew with his Pop Greens and Nami using Weatheria technology to create a thunderstorm which inevitably zaps the entire half of the crew along with the bar they were previously in.
      • To follow suit afterwards, Luffy and Zoro decide to get in on the act With Luffy using Haoushoku Haki and knocking out the Fake Strawhats who attacked him with relative ease, and Zoro slicing a Galleon in half while using only one sword, complete with a one liner just like Mihawk.
      • A better example came a little later. Remember how it took the entire Straw Hat crew everything they had and then some to stop a single Pacifista? Luffy just flattened one with a single Jet Pistol. And then Sanji and Zoro team up to one-shot a second one, with both claiming, of course, that their attack was the one that did it in. Either attack probably would have done it.
    • Even before the timeskip, the Enies Lobby arc was the "take a level in badass" arc. Luffy got both of his gears, Zoro got the Asura technique, Sanji got the Diable Jambe, Nami had Usopp upgrade her Clima Tact, Usopp himself turned his sling shot into Kabuto (a long staff with a slingshot with five bands on the top). The only main characters who didn't take a level in badass were Franky, Robin and Chopper, and of them one was not fighting and the other hadn't even joined the crew. It should also be noted that these were each of their strongest abilities and weapons before the timeskip and even more that each one came up with their ability (except Nami, who had Usopp make hers).
      • Chopper took a level in badass in revealing his "monster point." And post-Time Skip, he retains his intelligence in this form, when previously he couldn't.
    • Conis was a sweet girl from Skypiea who looked as threatening as a kitten. Then, when she discovered Enel's plan to annihilate Skypiea and seemingly saw her father killed by Enel, she went to warn everyone and when an officer tried to stop her, she aimed a BFG at his face and warned him to back off.
  • Given the histroic background of Vinland Saga, that useless girly crybaby Canute does eventually have to become King Canute the Great of Denmark, England, Norway, and Sweden. When he uses his guardian who always handled all interaction with other people for him, he grows giant balls of steel and within an hour has the three deadliest men in all of northern Europe in his service.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald from Code Geass starts off as a Smug Snake who quickly becomes the Butt Monkey and gets kicked around by everyone. Then he comes back in the first season finale as an Ax Crazy cyborg who easily rips through the Black Knights. In the second season, his modifications are completed, restoring his sanity and making him even tougher...at which point he pulls a Heel Face Turn out of loyalty to Lelouch's dead mother. Not for nothing do fans of the series consider him the living embodiment of manliness and loyalty.
  • Jomy from Toward the Terra, after the Time Skip. Jomy goes from being an unwilling and sort of whiny kid to becoming an admirable leader of the Mu when we see him again after 12 years.
  • Teana at the start of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Immature rookie that almost caused a friendly fire incident and likely deserved the little head cooling from Nanoha and punch to the face from Signum. Teana by the end of StrikerS: Smart Girl that took down three Number Cyborgs on her own. While crippled. Speaking in hard Power Levels, she is a B-ranked mage who defeated one AAA-ranked and two AA-ranked combat cyborgs simultaneously.
    • On a side note, all of the Forwards advance by two Power Levels on the mage ranking scale by the end of StrikerS: Teana, Subaru, and Erio go from B to AA, and Caro, from C+ to A+.
  • Shiki from Tsukihime is normally a laid back guy, but anger him enough so that he takes off his glasses and he'll instantly take like five or six levels in badass at the same time. Or, y'know, make him give in to his Nanaya side, and by the badassness alone you're pretty much screwed.
    • After the original Visual Novel he's apparently even more badass without having to give in to his Nanaya side. He's apparently killed three Dead Apostle Ancestors since then. His Nanaya side is actually the thing that scares him the most because he's afraid it's merely an unstoppable killing murdering psychopath.
  • Vampire Knight: Yuuki Cross is a straight example, going from something of a Distressed Damsel to an awesome Action Girl after Kaname transforms her back into a vampire. Chairman Cross is a subversion; he was a former vampire hunter before the series, and returned to being badass later in the series.
  • Yukiteru from Mirai Nikki, after his father dies and he decides to start playing the game to win, not just to survive. He vanishes for five days, and when he returns mysteriously, he's gone from helpless woobie relying on his psychopathic girlfriend to survive into a badass secret agent type, with the girlfriend clinging to him like a Bond girl (symbolizing that he's the one in charge now).
  • Hiro in Princess Resurrection is a good example of the trope. In the early series he was a complete deadweight, whose only real job was to do repair jobs around the house since he was... you know... useless at fighting. And then he almost singlehandedly wiped out an entire army of mummies with a hatchet.
  • Kuwabara from Yu Yu Hakusho was just an ordinary street punk who was only a mildly better fighter then the average street punk. Through his association with Yusuke and the spirit world police he became quite proficient and certainly helpful with his spirit awareness.
    • Yusuke, being the main character, does a few major jumps in ability, but considering the Sorting Algorithm of Evil his first fight remains just about as tough as the later fight. Kuwabara on the other hand, shows a marked improvement in dealing with the demons, while still not at the same level as Yusuke.
    • Then there's Hiei, who went from being nearly killed by his ultimate technique to not only just gaining control of it in a few days, but also being able to go up an entire class rank (from C+ to mid B class) and being able to absorb said ultimate technique and become even more powerful, temporarily.
  • Sylphiel Nels Lahda from Slayers. Though she's a very competent healer in her own right, her skill in offensive magic in the first season is extremely lacking, to the point where her attempts at casting Flare Arrow result in Flare Carrots appearing instead. However, by the time her appearance in the second season rolls around, not only has she taught herself one of the most destructive spells ever devised, the Dragon Slave, in the interim, but she nearly manages takes out the season's big bad with it as well when she stacks it on top of Lina's.
  • Chinami between Code-E and Mission-E. Although she still only qualifies for Faux Action Girl. Her sidekick does most of the fighting.
  • Much of Shikabane Hime: Kuro is taken up with Ouri taking a level in badass. Six episodes in and he's capable of going toe to toe with the Seven Stars.
  • Shu in Now and Then Here and There. He spends the entire series being kind, idealistic, and an extreme pacifist. When Nabuca dies, Shu drops the cheerful disposition, becomes hard as stone (at least for the time being), and singlehandedly succeeds in freeing all the prisoners, rescuing the Magical Girl, and beating the crap out of the Big Bad.
  • This trope is practically defined by Flame of Recca's Domon Ishijima. Being The Big Guy in a series that seemed to copy Yu Yu Hakusho, people expected him to be the comic relief guy that couldn't catch up. He still provides comic relief, but along the way, he evolves from being the weakest of the team into potentially one of the most powerful team members ever. And his fighting record keeps getting better and better... His crowning moment of taking badass levels? Magensha shot him with a cannon that can shred people into pieces...and Domon simply punches the hell outta it, deflecting it. Awesome.
  • Bat from Fist of the North Star, where he went from a Bratty Half-Pint in the first series who would literally wet his pants at the first sign of danger to a badass resistance leader capable of holding his own against the bad guys. Ken even notices this by telling Bat that he has "become a man". Coming from a guy that makes people explode by punching them, that's something special.
    • Well, in his defense, most preteen boys aren't used to the sight of a hulking gang boss instantly exploding in a shower of blood and guts. He'd learn.
  • Youko Nakajima from The Twelve Kingdoms took SEVERAL levels in badass throught the series, from a extremely meek and insecure girl to THE F###ING HIGH QUEEN (Lady of War included). Shoukei and Suzu deserve a mention too, as they go from a Royal Brat and a Shrinking Violet to quite awesome Action Survivors.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, after about nine volumes of absolute fail and Tsuna being pretty much the physical Embodiment of Suck, No-Good Tsuna finaly took multiple levels in badass. This was due to the unveiling of his Hyper Dying Will mode, in which he becomes a calm, cool, level-headed fighter that can do things from lighting his hands on fire to flying. It gets even better in the future arc, where after receiving a Mind Screw, courtesy of the Vongola Boss Right of Passage accompanied by the claustrophobia and lack of air of TYL Hibari's hedgehog dome, Tsuna gets another level in badass. Not to mention that everyone took one when they put on those Impossibly Cool Battle Suits.
  • In the manga adaptation of Dragon Quest (titled Dai no Dai Bouken/Dai's Great Adventure), the title character Dai's meek sidekick Pop goes from a total loser to one of the most heroic characters in the series.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has three instances of levelling in Badass, two of them on screen:
    • Sano undergoing the Training From Hell to learn his ultimate technique. His mentor even notes Sano's almost overnight maturity.
    • Kenshin learning his ultimate technique and taking his first steps towards coming to terms with himself.
    • Yahiko shows off his level of badass (of which he'd been steadily gaining experience points in throughout the series) in the Distant Finale by pulling off a Barehanded Blade Block...with two fingers.
  • In the "The One to Carry On" Ranma ½ OAV, after suffering a disastrous defeat to the Sibling Team of Natsume and Kurumi, both Ranma and Akane train very, very hard for a rematch -- Ranma trains specifically in female form to compensate for her inexperience with it, but Akane endures an even harder training regimen with Ry?ga that improves her overall performance. The differences in her skills and demeanor surprise everyone who sees her.
  • Kamishiro Yuu from Holyland is a loner and weakling who constantly gets shoved around by bullies. But once he stumbles across a book that shows how to throw a proper punch, he practices punching a thousand times and begins beating up bullies and learning other martial arts moves.
    • While that seems like a quick trip for taking a level in badass, it's actually a thousand times a day.
  • In Bleach, when Chad realizes that he's fallen far behind Ichigo and Uryuu loses his Quincy abilites, they each go through their own Training From Hell. The end result turns two people who'd be lucky to fight a lieutenant and win into powerful fighters, each roughly on par with Ichigo without his mask. They both shred through their respective opponents in the Hueco Mundo arc...until they meet the Espada at least. But hey, they were each more than a match for a Privaron.
    • Ichigo himself has undergone numerous levels in badass during the course of the shows history. He goes from being barely able to hold a severely weakened lieutenant in check to being able to take down one of the most formidable captains of the Gotei 13... and then he gets his Super-Powered Evil Side to upgrade. He then undergoes several more level upgrades over a short space of only a few days (in-universe) to reach a level that makes Aizen look weak.
    • Renji vows to save Rukia during the Soul Society arc and promptly uses the Urahara training method to short-circuit his remaining Bankai training just so he can fight Byakuya. It fails, but he does earn Byakuya's respect for the sheer guts and resolve he displayed in trying.
    • Isshin starts the manga as a Bumbling Dad who can't even see ghosts. Then it's revealed he's a shinigami who sacrificed his powers 20 years ago and has mysteriously regained them again. His first fight in 20 years is against an opponent that wiped the floor with Ichigo, and he defeats it with a single swing. Then he admits that the arrancar's power level now is far greater than anything he had faced 20 years ago.
    • In the Fullbring Arc, Orihime revealed she's spent 17 months training hard to improve her power and her resolve. Now she can create a shield that not only deflects an attack but turns it back on the attacker like an explosive bomb, allowing her to both defend and attack at the same time.
  • Tenma and Nina in Monster, who are promptly de-woobiefied by their gun training and grim determination.
  • Tetsuo Shima in Akira goes from an inferiority-complexed nube in a biker gang to an almost god-like psychic psychopath in about an hour into the film, capable of exploding peoples' heads, leveling bridges, surviving a satellite laser canon (and destroying it in the vacuum of space), and damn near absorbing a city into himself. Heck, at the end he is implied to be God in a new universe of his creation. However, topping all that is he never manages to defeat his Badass Normal friend Kaneda.
  • In Zatch Bell, when the heroes are training in preparation for the battle with Clear Note, Kanchome takes several levels in badass, moving up from being one of the weakest demons in the battle to becoming the second strongest demon in the entire series, able to force Zatch to use Baou Zakeruga just to survive a fight against him, and completely demolishing Clear's Dragon, Gorm.
    • And let's not forget the MASSIVE level in badass Gash and Kiyomaro took in the Faudo arc after Kiyomaro came back from the dead.. Zakeru, their first and weakest spell, managed to crush a Dioga level spell and its caster without batting an eye. Not to mention the four, count them, four new spells they got just from Kiyomaro dying in the first place.
  • In Shaman King Bokuto no Ryu takes a few levels in Badass after being left behind at Yoh's house. He reappears as a shaman without losing a single preliminary fight.
  • In Pokémon Special, this and Character Development is pretty much a given to all of the protagonists in their own respective arcs, but special mention to Yellow must be given. She initially just tries to run away from battles, endangers herself when trying to protect others, doesn't know her own Pokemon's move sets very well, doesn't know what evolution is, cries when her Rattata does so (initially thinking it was gone forever), etc, etc. By the end of the arc, she's fighting Lance (who is much of a cheating bastard as his game counterpart) of all people all by herself, her first strategy involving surfing on lava to create a tornado to suck him into it, and when that fails and her arm gets broken, she tries even harder and ends up simply blowing him away (albeit with some backup) with a massive burst of energy.
    • Yellow is the poster girl for Badass Grinding, and you'd be hard pressed to argue otherwise. If one counts backstory, however, Sapphire's the runner-up. Even though he was a hard badass back then - born and raised by Norman, who wouldn't be? - Ruby locked away his inner badass after repulsing a Salamence with three unevolved Pokemon and frightening the poor docile girl to tears, eventually going in the opposite direction for the next five years. As a result of his demonstration of masterwork and bravery, coupled with her own shame over her reaction and the injury he sustained as a result, she disappeared into the wild, ground herself into an Action Girl, developed Charles Atlas Superpower and never looked back.
    • And now we have White aiming for third. After she repaired herself from the fatal error at the Nimbasa Ferris Wheel, it's safe to say she realized that not only is something much bigger than BW Rentals going on, but as long as she's traveling with Black she's going to be damsel bait for Team Plasma. As a result, she's taken a small squad of Pokemon (including a last-minute donation of Brave by Black) onto the Battle Subway for training, with plans to stay on the train until she feels she can handle the stress. If they are anywhere near the cheesiness of the games counterpart, then Team Plasma better hope the experience breaks her further or Black will be the least of their worries... and if the two join forces after that and Ghetsis is still running the show, well, fuck.
  • For Soul Eater, Black Star using the Nakatsukasas' demon blade mode properly after training in Japan is a major example. Arguably Maka with Demon Hunter considering her progress following the Clown chapters (compare how she handles Arachne and Gopher to the first couple of black-blood incidents), although in her case she was competent already; Soul's assessment of the Clown's hallucinations allowed her to take that capability to the next level. Such is the progression of the storylines, Kid's Sanzu Lines is likely to be the next example.
  • Pretty much the entire main cast of Twentieth Century Boys take several levels in badass throughout the series, as the story follows them from their childhood school days, through their normal 20's and 30's, and finally sees them form La Résistance to combat the Complete Monster Big Bad, Friend. However, the character who takes the most levels in badass is probably Otcho, who is last seen by his friends as a timid salaryman. Cut to 10 years later? He's a goddamn freelance ninja beating the crap out of thugs in Bangkok.
  • Nao from Liar Game, who started out as a very naive, guillible girl who could only cry every time someone lied or tricked her, much to her dismay. Now, she's pulling a few strings of her own, carefully using her honesty nature to bluff and lie to others (though usually for their benefit, as she would give them her winnings afterwards to pay off their debts). She even talked down to Yokoya, cleverly using his pride to goad him into coming back for another round, so she could win back the money he had stole to pay back others' debts. And later on, she collaborated with Fukunaga to trick her opponent and kept Akiyama in the dark the whole time about it.
  • Shiro Kabuto in Shin Mazinger is a meta example. In previous incarnations of Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger, he's typically a somewhat annoying, useless Tagalong Kid; in Shin Mazinger, he can easily escape being tied up and held captive... Later on he has the line "I'mma cutcha!", hangs out with Yakuza and a government operative, and in the Final Battle is having quite a bit of fun pushing the plungers that trigger hidden bombs which in turn blow up Mechanical Beasts.
    • In the manga, Shiro does a lot of Big Damn Heroes to Koji by flying the Pilder all by himself AND always suceed to deliver it sucessfuly and does some asskicking too before finally change place with Koji. By near the end of the manga, he have finaly learned how to fly the Pilder properly and killed one of the assasin that is targeting Koji.
    • Boss and his gang also recieve a level-up in Shin Mazinger. While most of the time they're there for the audience to have a laugh, he and his two lackies, Mucha and Nuke (who are revealed to know martial arts), rescue Kouji from Baron Ashura's clutches. In the final battle they help out in their mecha, Boss Borot, by catching a freaking ICBM, stopping Baron Ashura him/herself from flattening the heroes, and pulling Mazinger out of the rubble of the city, enabling Kouji to fight. Boss also becomes Genre Savvy by the end: "Don't worry about us, we're the comic-relief characters who get blown up but still live!"
      • Then there's Baron Ashura who goes for being a somewhat incompetent The Dragon to an extermely dangerous adversary who can battle Mazinger-Z by him/herself on foot and actually graduates to Magnificent Bastard by getting the last laugh over Kouji and friends.
    • Hikaru Makiba from UFO Robo Grendizer started the series like a farm girl. After the first season she got fed up with being a Damsel in Distress and decided to become an Action Girl. For the end she was piloting mechas and blowing up alien warships.
  • Emporio Alnino in Part 6 of Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure doesn't have much in the way of a powerful combat ability, or anything real impressive. But, he gains Weather Report as a stand, and is the one to kill Enrico Pucci, which Jotaro (resident badass of the series who can stop time) and Joylene (daughter of said resident badass) couldn't do.
  • The title character of Chirin no Suzu takes a couple levels as a result of his Training From Hell.
  • In Yankee-kun to Megane-chan (Flunk Punk Rumble in the American release), the two geeks from computer club go from this to this.
  • Tsukune from Rosario+Vampire started the series as your typical loser harem lead, but then Moka injected him with vampire blood to save his life and he gained temporary vampire powers, which was repeated in later encounters with monsters. After a while, the constant injections turned him into a mindless ghoul, though he was saved by having that form sealed up. Since then, he has been able to call upon his ghoul powers at will, and with training from Moka, has undeniably become a full-time badass.
  • In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, generic mook Jerid Messa gains a level once his first love interest dies, and keeps moving up through the series. Eventually, he's almost on equal footing with the Newtype hero. He still bites the bullet, though.
  • Usagi Tsukino of Sailor Moon. In both the anime and manga versions, she starts off as a ditzy crybaby, but she tends to level up at least once per arc. By Sailor Moon R, she'd already started growing into her role as The Hero, and by the time Stars comes around, she's already become a very competent Action Girl. At the end of the series, she's able to fight Galaxia, the strongest Sailor Senshi in the galaxy, on equal terms.
    • Also, the other Seishi get at least a power-up every two seasons.
  • In Tail of the Moon Usagi takes a leap in badass after her Heroic BSOD. It doesn't seem to last long, though...
  • Akira in Cage of Eden is obviously, but more prominent is the cabin attendant, Oomori. At first she breaks down quickly and is scared to death of a small and furry animal, but later she takes a stab wound from Kouhei and tries to write it off as nothing.
  • Matsuda shooting Light in the last episode of Death Note deconstructs this trope Evangelion-style: the viewer is too stunned by how sad everything is to pay much attention to how fucking cool the resident Butt Monkey just became.
  • Kadaj from FinalFantasyVII: Advent Children can teach a class on taking levels in badass after literally becoming Sephiroth in the blink of an eye.
    • Cloud himself took a few levels in badass in Advent Children. First he was no match for the Silver Haired Men, then he defeated Bahamut Sin, and then the aforementioned Silver Haired Men, and then Sephiroth himself. Of course, Plot Armor does help.
      • It seems suggested that he simply gained back levels he had lost. At first, he was angsty and ill, but before the dragon fight, he gained his self-confidence back, and by the end he had been physically healed as well. Tifa also spoke of the strength the lot of them had felt near the end of the game and how they had already lost it, except that, near the end of the movie, Cloud had regained it.
  • Although even putting the name Shinji Ikari and the word badass in one sentence may sound like the ultimate Oxymoron, the theatrical retelling Rebuild of Evangelion, now at the second film (of a planned four) Evangelion 2.0 may be trying to paint a very different picture of Shinji to his original TV series self. During the climax of 2.0, Shinji takes on the angel Zeruel in a fashion much like the same battle in the original series. However, instead of going blank and having the Unit-01 become sentient on its own...Shinji himself reactivates the Unit-01 into berserker mode off of his sheer will to save Rei Ayanami. (whose Unit-00 had been eaten by said angel previously, after a failed attempt to kamikaze the Angel like in the TV series.) With red eyes, and a nearly feral expression as well as a temperament of sheer anger and altruistic determination...this may be one of the most dramatic examples of having taken a level in badass that Japanese animation has ever seen when one considers the character.
    • "I want Rei. Give her back" was delivered in Tranquil Fury mode. And he does weird stuff with his AT field too.
    • Although he's still generally the passive and despondent teen we all know and love(or hate), Shinji has also generally had a more forward and direct personality. Being more forward in bringing Rei out of her shell, taking more chances in the battle against Ramiel, rampaging around the Geofront after the Unit-03 incident, and even confronting his father in a more direct manner. So far anyways...
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, GX and 5D's, several characters (mainly main characters) do this. Most notably, however, are Yugi (not Atem) and Jonouchi. Yugi winds up being able to defeat Atem, despite never actually getting to play in any of the more important duels. And Jonouchi... doesn't really need an explanation, but it is still provided: He starts out with no dueling skills at all, tries beating Yugi with a deck consisting of 40 Normal Monsters and nothing else, fails, gets a bit of advice, and manages to defeat Mai, Rex, Weevil, Mako, Esper Roba, one of Dartz' Motorcycle-riding Henchmen, and even Odion (though this hardly counts as it wound up being "whoever get up first wins"). Also, Seto in season 4: "If at first you don't succeed, blast it again with your BLUE-EYES WHITE DRAGON!"
    • In GX, we have Manjyoume, after he returns to Duel Academy and has his black jacket and the Ojama deck. Also, Hell Kaiser Ryo.
      • Also, Hell Kaiser Ryou's little brother, who defeated an opponent Ryou couldn't beat, and whom Ryou himself said had surpassed him in skill and potential.
    • Let's not forget Rua who up until now was just Ruka's Moral Support, but recently badassed his way into Signer status so hard the Crimson Dragon made up a new mark for him.
      • Although Life Stream Dragon is shown as servant to the Crimson Dragon long before Black Feather Dragon is introduced (Episode 30, several Openings and Endings).
    • Also in 5d's there's Carly who In the Dark Signer Arc, dies, gets reborn, turns utterly evil and severly injures the guy who killed her, and almost beats the former King,. And consindering she was a Butt Monkey at the beginning of the arc, who lost after the second turn in her first duel that's a pretty big step.
    • Jonouchi's biggest level in baddass isn't even described here... he duels Marik (That is, the evil side of Marik/Malik) to the point that, if jonouchi had managed to keep himself concious for a few more seconds... he would have won. To point out WHY this is badass, Marik had been using life point (and due to it being Marik, life force) draining cards the whole duel, up to an including the actually hot Lava Golem. Jonouchi still kept going and fighting back. Marik summons RA to deal with him. Jonouchi surivives that, then manages to summon his ace at the time, Gilford the Lightning... and then for the first time, we see Marik SCARED of someone, as he almost loses at that point, if not for the fact that Jonouchi finally couldn't take the strain and fell into a coma, his soul now on the line. (And he still manages to break out of that coma in time to cheer Yugi on in the next duel). He also has an offscreen level, as at the end of the Battle City arc, he and Yugi have a duel to decide if he gets Red-Eyes back (Jonouchi's suggestion, Yugi is happy to just give it back but he wants to duel.) Later, we see him using his Red-Eyes, which implys that Jonouchi BEAT YUGI in a duel.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Homura took many levels of badass, out of all people. (According to her previous timelines shown in Episode 10, of course. She just went from Mikuru-level moe to Master Chief-level badass.) Sayaka also takes a level in badass, although we can't see much of that because she descends into madness and becomes a witch.
    • Actually, the show is a deconstruction of this trope, since taking the badass levels is done via a Deal with the Devil that subjects the girl who becomes a Puella Magi to very unsavory things. Her soul is ripped out and kept in a Soul Gem, which means that: a) the body is pretty much inanimated and soul-less if the Gem is only 100 mts. away from it,; b) if the soul gem is destroyed, the girl WILL die and there's practically nothing you can do about it; c) sooner or later, the Soul Gem will become so tainted with darkness that it WILL turn into a Grief Seed... and the girl will become a witch, like it happened to poor Sayaka. So no, taking levels in badass in this series is WAY more complex than it seems, and it brings such horrible consequences that some would say it's simply not worth it.
      • Then again, Madoka herself turned from a Crybaby into an extradimensional god IN A SINGLE EPISODE. This wasn't without a price, however.
  • In Kami Kaze, Ordinary High School Student Misao Mikogami was originally a helpless Damsel in Distress, terrified and powerless when introduced to a world of demons, Blood Knights, and Omnicidal Maniacs whose idea of a fun evening is slaughtering all the occupants of a fairly well-populated high school. Skip to a couple of months later and she is a Physical God who takes down some of the most Badass hell-spawn to ever be let out of their can - things that even the most seasoned veterans can't make a scratch on - with a literal flick of her wrist. Not only that, she takes on the other deities at their own game, throws their rhetoric back in their faces, and actually becomes far more powerful and influential than the leading male Badass swordsman of the series (and this is a Seinen series we're talking about here). The only downside? Apparently taking that many levels in awesome leaves you emotionally unstable. There is a good reason why everyone runs for cover when she gets mildly irritated by something. And God help you if you tell her that her boyfriend might be dead (very bad things happened to the last guy who said that).
  • Quite a few people in Black Lagoon come under this: Rock, for instance, starts out as a low-level Butt Monkey employee of a Japanese megacorp...and ends up as a Magnificent Bastard who has all of Roanapur afraid of him.
    • You also have Garcia Lovelace...
    • And, in one of the Omake episodes, Sgt. Boris of the Vysotniki...he was apparently a skinny Shonen boy, who joined the Soviet Army to get tougher...
  • It's arguable that a number of characters from Tenchi Muyo! have these sorts of jumps, though some of them are kinda jarring:
    • The first was the main character himself, Tenchi Masaki. He starts out as your normal 17-year-old with an Unwanted Harem. Then first Big Bad Kagato comes around and nearly kills him. One divine rescue later and Tenchi ends up slicing Kagato in half (along with his ship) with his amazing power. That amazing power (which is later revealed to be the power of that universe's god) is amplified even more when the timeline is fixed at the end of the 3rd OVAs.
    • The next is Sasami. Initially, she's the Cute Kid with the secret that she's also a Physical God and afraid of telling everyone that lest they all shun her. She seems much more open after she reveals that secret, but that's not it. When we see her next in the 3rd OVA series, she reveals that she also has staff training and is able to take on a Galaxy Police elite and defeat her. Oh, that staff? It's actually one of her hair bands that she keeps her ponytails in!
    • The third? Seina Yamada of Tenchi Muyo! GXP (a continuation of the original OVAs). When we first see him, he's the franchise's biggest Butt Monkey due to his horrible bad luck (they even talk about it in the series' end theme!). He doesn't take the level until near the end when he's tossed into a machine that resembles Dual Zinv and, after he finds out that the pirates that were after him not only had Team Pet Fuku, but also forcibly made her reproduce other cabbits, he flipped out and tore apart the pirate fleet on his own.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Greed is easily taken down by Wrath/King Bradley. However, once he's resurrected in Ling's body, he's able (somewhat) hold his own against Wrath, presumably by at least partially drawing on Ling's combat skills.
    • Al starts off the series mostly passive, following the lead of his brother. Then about 1/3 of the series he stands up to the homunculus Lust, throwing his body between her and the defeated Hawkeye despite both of them telling him to run away. By the end of the series, he's capable of single handedly going toe to toe with the most powerful homunculus.
    • Falman gets one as well. He starts out as a bumbling and mostly incompetent member of Roy's team. When the team is split up, he gets shipped off to the cold northern fortress of Briggs. When he returns as part of the Briggs assault on Central, he's able to take command of a squad and hold off the advancing Central counterattack. Also, he manages to stare down Bradley, who'd just single handedly taken out a squad of tough Briggs soldiers, his tough as nails commanding officer, and a tank. When ordered to step away from the gate, he refuses despite knowing that Bradley could easily kill him.
  • In the first half of Tiger and Bunny, Kaede Kaburagi is a normal little girl that just happens to unknowingly have a superhero for a father. Then the second half of the series rolls along and it turns out that Kotetsu/Wild Tiger's more impressive qualities and superpowers are inheritable.

 Kotetsu: She's my little girl, all right!

    • Origami Cyclone spends the beginning of the series as a useless attention whore who only exists to advertise his sponsors and bemoans the fact that his NEXT power, the ability to copy anyone's appearance, is pretty much useless in the ultra-theatrical line of heroics he's involved in. Then his character development episode comes, and he decides to start actually helping out, and by the last episode he's pulling off feats of awesome such as deflecting energy blasts with his swords and throwing the giant shuriken on his back and riding on it.
  • Guilty Crown: Watch the first episode. Yeah. He did just rush at a ***mech*** and slice off its arm. As himself. With just a sword. After essentially pissing himself in a corner when that girl is taken away by the local government thugs halfway through the episode.
  • Blue Seed: Yoshiki Yaegashi starts out as the cowardly rookie computer nerd. He gets mostly ignored by the other TAC members and is teased and slightly bullied by Koume Sawaguchi. He's attracted to Momiji at first and even enrolls her into a Pop Idol contest without her knowledge. After he realizes her attraction to Kusanagi, he lets her go and becomes attracted to Komue whom violently rejects him at first. However, by the end of the series, when everyone else is afraid to fight Susano-Oh, Yoshiki is the only one who stands tall ready to meet the challenge, much to Koume's surprise. Koume falls in love with him afterwards.
  • Hunter X Hunter: Leorio was pretty cool already but he was definitely on the lower side of the power scale. At the Phantom Troupe arc he has barely learned Nen, the power which the guys with high Power Levels use to fight. After the arc he was Put on a Bus until later. Suddenly in the most recent arc he returns and how: He publicly calls out Ging for refusing to visit his hospitalized son. Words don't seem to have an effect, so he flips him off and sends him flying with an uppercut, courtesy of his brand new Nen ability. In-universe it's acknowledged as awesome enough for a standing ovation and enough votes for him to take over as hunter chairman to rocket him from an unknown to third place.
  • Inuyasha: Sesshoumaru spends most of the manga one-armed. He's still one of the most powerful characters in the entire story. When the Ultimate Evil is finally unleashed, however, even Sesshoumaru is no match for it. Cue a No One Could Survive That moment leading to a Came Back Strong reveal where Sesshoumaru Took a Level In Badass and suddenly the worst Youkai evil in history is no longer any match for him.
  • Tsubomi Hanasaki of Heartcatch Pretty Cure. When we're first introduced to her, she's an extremely shy and introverted girl who, upon becoming Cure Blossom for the first time, freaked out and tried to run. Because of it, she was given the derogatory term "The Weakest Precure in History". By the end of the series, she realizes that she does lean on her friends for support, but that's her greatest strength - and she uses it to great effect when she and her teammates become something of a Physical God and literally One Hit KO the series' Big Bad. When we see her next in Pretty Cure All Stars DX 3, she's pretty much leading the other pink-type Cures after they're all separated.
    • Speaking of DX 3 all the teams there take a good level by taking down their movie-only foes with their normal powers and attacks when the last time they fast any of them, they were forced to take up movie-only Super Modes.
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