Mid-Season Upgrade

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Aw yeah, it's upgrade time."

The reverse of Doomed Upgrade, in anime mecha series it's common for the main mecha (and sometimes secondary ones as well) to be upgraded or replaced about halfway through the storyline. Either the original is damaged, destroyed or simply outclassed by the My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours nature of the opponents.

In many such cases, the series starts with the protagonist mecha so powerful that no enemy unit can stop them, then to get some balance the enemy catches on eventually and creates weapons powerful enough that defeating them gets virtually impossible. Finally, the heroes get their upgrades to devastate their enemies and restores their superiority.

In cases where the original mech survives or is later retrieved, it often becomes a hand-me-down given to one of the other members of the cast - as in several Gundam series - but is now rather outclassed.

Note that the opening sequence of the show will probably change to show the upgrade, although the title may not.

Don't be surprised if happens in time for new toys to get out for Christmas shopping season.

Not to be confused with the acquisition of a new Super Mode. See also Shonen Upgrade. If it's not in the middle but in the beginning of a new season, it's So Last Season. Compare and contrast Mecha Expansion Pack, where they just tack new stuff onto the old mech.

Examples of Mid-Season Upgrade include:

Anime and Manga

  • In fact the term mid-season upgrade is used in Mobile Suit Gundam fanspeak, and happens in every Gundam series except for the original (which only had an upgrade for the first suit, not a replacement) . It occured twice in Gundam X.
    • The X-Divider was more of a downgrade in a sense that Garrod was unable to use the Sat Cannon. But it did turn him to a formidable pilot.
      • The original Sat Cannon was borderline useless anyway since it could be used at night when the moon was out, Tiffa had to mentally activate it the first time for Garrod to be able to use it, it had a awkward firing position that rendered the Gundam helpless while firing, and it was pure barely controllable destructive force. The Double X corrected all but the night problem (it had Jamil's brainwave data taken from the first Gundam X so Garrod could arm the weapon on his own, it swung over the shoulders allowing the Gundam to do other things while charging, and it was easier to control the firing angle. Until then the Divider weapon was more effective at it could be fired anytime by anyone with the beams much easier to control. Also the Divider and Double X corrected the original GX's other weapon issues by having both a shield and a rifle (the first was a combination rifle shield thing which was a glaring weakness because both are generally needed to block and exchange fire in a Gundam dogfight).
    • Gundam 0080 was actually a Lampshade Hanging of this trope, showing why one midseason upgrade never happened (the original plan was that the Alex was to be sent to Amuro for the final battle of the One Year War.)
      • However, in the novelization of the original Gundam, Amuro does get the strengthened G-3 Gundam (No, it can't use the God Finger) to replace the original RX-78-2.
    • They even manage to fit one of these into a movie!
    • And of course, there's Gundam Wing, in which each of the six primary pilots gets a Mid-Season Upgrade. Played with a bit in that Heero and Zechs receive each others' eventual upgrades and then swap the next time they meet. Additionally, Trowa and Quatre's upgrades are little more than space mobility conversions for their original Gundams. Then comes Endless Waltz, but since the Gundams are a Retcon rather than entirely new machines, the only actual upgrade is the Tallgeese III.
    • Gundam 00 might have all other Gundam series beat on this. The first season has new support systems for the Gundams towards the end of it, plus a Super Mode for each. Then, the second season features two rounds of upgrades for the new Gundams (which technically invokes So Last Season, except brand-new mechs are the usual Mid-Season Upgrade for a Gundam series, so this kind of happens three or four times in 50 episodes).
      • Taken to it's absolute zenith with Graham Aker. He gets at least three upgrades for his Ace Custom unit in the first season alone, shifts to a different Ace Custom at the beginning of the second season and then gets what seems to be a Super Prototype... which is upgraded twice during the course of the following episodes. Recent events indicate that the last few may have actually been upgrades to his original unit. Lucky guy.
      • The series also inverts this in the final episode: protagonist Setsuna and Big Bad Ribbons Almark destroy each others' Gundams and each takes with one of the 00 Gundam's GN Drives. Ribbons finds his old 0 Gundam and installs the Drive he stole, while Setsuna's allies send him the Gundam Exia, though in this case both machines received a few minor upgrades in the meantime.
    • Gundam SEED Destiny gets pretty absurd with this. Literally every single named pilot that isn't dead by Midseason gets one. Protagonist/Antagonist Shinn goes from Impulse to Destiny and Protagonist/Antagonist Kira goes from Freedom (itself a Mid-Season Upgrade from Gundam SEED) to the Strike Freedom. Athrun goes from Saviour to Infinite Justice, Cagalli goes from Strike Rouge to Akatsuki and then gives it to Neo which in itself a upgrade to the grunt Windam he had previous. Andy goes from a Murasame to Gaia even though he only fights a grand total of one battle with each of them. Luna and Rey go from grunts to Gundam, and even Yzak and Dearka upgrade from grunts to better grunts. It's almost as if the skill of the named pilots is only because they keep getting bigger and better machines.
      • Possibly subverted with the Infinite Justice, however. It more or less is just the original Justice with an increase in performances. Seriously, compare their attack vids in Super Robot Wars. Nearly identical.
      • In some case, when the protagonist has a mid season upgrade while his current Gundam was already powerful, his old Gundam will be the upgrade for a supporting character. That's how Luna gets hers. The Typical Gundam SEED Destiny pointed out that's she's even more useless after this.
    • Gundam ZZ is notable for having Judau upgrade to the machine very early on, not even a quarter of the way through the series. This is balanced out by getting improvements on the machine at two separate points, turning it into an Ace Custom version.
    • The V2 Gundam is a straight example of this, even though the protagonist would occasionally pilot the previous model or even an enemy unit.
    • Being based on Gundam, BB Senshi Sangokuden would hand out Mid Season Upgrades at several different points in time, turning characters into mechas related to their archetypes. Ryuubi Gundam turned from the classic RX-78-2 into the Perfect Gundam, Shiba-I Sazabi evolved into the Nightingale, the list goes on.
    • 0083 with the GP01 getting an upgrade so it doesn't trashed in space, and then getting GP03 which comes with a The Mother of All Mecha Expansion Packs.
    • The Turn a Gundam having its "limiter" removed, which gives it even more ways to destroy things and activate its deadliest weapon: The Moonlight Butterfly.
    • G Gundam is an interesting case. Out of the main five, Domon is the only one who plays this trope straight. The others get Super Modes.
      • In-universe, Master Gundam is classified by the Gundam Fight Committee as a Mid-Season Upgrade to the Kowloon (Haow) Gundam , even though the Kowloon Gundam was really Master Gundam in disguise.
    • Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G has Beginning Gundam upgraded to Beginning 30 Gundam. The Lancer also has Sazabi replace Hyakushiki.
  • It also happens to the supporting cast only in RahXephon with the Vermillion units. Played straight as the first Vermillion gets severely damaged in the final battle to the point where Elvy ditched it in favor of her original fighter plane.
  • It's late in the original Bubblegum Crisis (probably because the series was originally meant to be 13 episodes but only 8 were made), and also present in the remake.
  • Then there are the Alter upgrades in S-Cry-ed.
  • The Mark Sein in Fafner.
  • Sailor Moon had these. Some of them are lost at the end of the season, which somewhat justifies the following So Last Season.
  • Happens at various points in Code Geass, though rarely with actual upgrades.
    • Lelouch hijacks the Super Prototype IFX-V301 Gawain to replace his (crappy) ace custom mecha about 2/3 of the way through the first season. Said Super Prototype gets destroyed in the season finale so the salvaged parts are used to rebuild it into the Type-0/0A Shinkirō which has Deflector Shields and a Beam Spam Wave Motion Gun.
    • Suzaku gets a flight pack for his Z01 Lancelot in episode 20 (Z01/A Lancelot Air Cavalry). In the second season, Suzaku has the entirely new Z01/D Lancelot Conquista, essentially a visually similar redesign with an integrated flight system and a Wave Motion Gun. The Lancelot Conquista is thrashed in it's first battle with the Guren SEITEN so it's replaced with the winged Z01/Z Lancelot Albion a few episodes later; the Albion is more of an Ace Custom than a Super Prototype as it is built specifically for Suzaku. The Albion is destroyed in the final episode. As for the original Lancelot, it is rebuilt using spare parts into the Lancelot Frontier which is destroyed very quickly.
    • Kallen gets two: first her Guren Mk-II is upgraded in the sixth episode of the second season (Type-02/F1A Guren Kashōshiki) to take on the Lancelot Conquista, featuring an integrated flight system and a new right arm radiant wave surger that's almost Wave Motion Gun/Kamehame Hadoken levels of badass. It's eventually captured by the Britannians and heavily upgraded in episode 18 into the extremely high-spec Type-02/F1Z Guren S.E.I.T.E.N. which not only features a red version of the Lancelot Albion's wings, it's right arm becomes capable of Detachment Combat.
  • Every Pretty Cure series features a Mid-Season Upgrade, invariably the ability to summon some item that allows the use of a more powerful attack and is conveniently available in toy form.
    • Fresh Pretty Cure plays with this a bit. Miki realizes she's the only one who doesn't have her Mid-Season Upgrade yet, and spends an entire episode desperately trying to avert Can't Catch Up.
  • Digimon's seasons usually have their first Mega debut around the 35th to the 40th episode, and it's usually The Hero and The Lancer that gets to have this (with the exceptions of Digimon Savers, which had all of the main fighters get a Mega and Burst Mode; and Digimon Tamers with the Power Trio and Sixth Ranger).
  • GaoGaiGar to Star GaoGaiGar. In addition to gaining giant engines (the better to operate in space), GaoGaiGar used the nacelle cowlings on the engines to beef up its Rocket Punch and the Protect Shade.
  • Halfway through Vision of Escaflowne, the titular mecha has taken a rather thorough shellacking, and Van has been synchronized to it. The heroes call in the Yspano clan, who originally built Escaflowne, to repair it and save Van.
  • The first two seasons of Ojamajo Doremi had this. The first season just upgraded their wands, but Sharp's was a magic upgrade(complete with a brand new outfit) that could be only be used on Oyajide when he kidnapped Hana-chan.
  • In Zoids Chaotic Century, Van's Shield Liger was magically transformed into a Blade Liger after getting trashed in a battle.
    • In the sequel series, Guardian Force, Van gets a couple minor improvements to the Liger's guns and boosters. Irvine, on the other hand, gets a brand new prototype Zoid (the Lightning Saix) to replace his wrecked Command Wolf (that's been there since his first appearance in the first season).
    • This happens in every Zoids series, really, given the Merchandise-Driven nature of the show. A notable subversion is Bit Cloud's Liger Zero in New Century/Zero, which could be transformed into various specialised units thanks to its Changing Armour System, but defeated the final, ultimate antagonist (the Berserk Fury) in its original basic armour.
      • The scene where they show an X-ray of Liger Zero's Organoid system imply that it may in fact be Van's original Liger permanently fused with Zeke, which, if true, would make it a Between Season Upgrade.
      • In the same series Brad upgraded in a similar way to Irvine, from a Command Wolf into a prototype Zoid called the Shadow Fox.
    • Zoids Genesis to most of the protagonist units - except the main one, which already had its own powers.
  • In Macross Frontier, Alto and Luca downgrade from their VF-25s to a VF-171 variant called the VF-171EX. On the plus side, this variant is specifically tuned to be an anti-Vajira upgrade. Alto then gets a movie only Upgrade: The YF-29 Durandal Valkyrie.
    • Macross 7 subverts this. The Hero Basara uses the same Valkyrie for the whole show, and the Lancer Gamlin's upgrade is practically the same unit as his first one with only a different head and different markings to show that he is a squadron commander. The only character to actually switch to brand new completely different mecha is Mauve Shirt Docker upgrading from a Nightmare to an Excalibur, and he's totally ineffective with it. Basara gets an Upgrade in Dynamite 7 though.
      • In fact most Macross series subvert this since each season has several mecha that are more or less the same mecha with different heads. While characters do get "newer" mecha its not really an upgrade in terms of weapons or ability.
        • Not always. In the original series, Valkyries get two upgrades—the sort of crappy missile armor that locks them in Battroid mode, and then, when they decided Valkyries didn't carry enough missiles already, they got the Super packs.
          • Also, Hikaru, Max and Milia gets newer machines a few times. In his first battle, the still civilian Hikaru is on the Valkirye VF-1D trainer variant; when he's finally in the military, he gets the VF-1J ace variant, on which is applied the battroid-only upgrade for a single battle; after Roy's death, he inherits his VF-1S, faster and better armed than the standard ace custom, that for the final battle against Bodolza's gets the super packs with more missiles and the anti-ship reaction missiles. On his own, Max starts with the standard VF-1A, receives a VF-1J after getting promoted, and fights the final battle with his fighter upgraded with the super packs. Finally, Milia starts with a Meltrandi Queadluun-Rau power armor, gets downgraded to the inferior VF-1J over joining UN Spacy (that has no Queadluun-Rau for her), but fights Bodolza with her VF-1J upgraded with super packs and the one thing the Queadluun-Rau never had, anti-ship missiles.
  • In Eureka Seven, the Nirvash is upgraded to Spec 2 standard just a little bit after the series' midpoint, allowing it to better contend with theEND, as well as adding an additional vehicle mode.
  • Mew Ichigo's Strawbellbell gets an upgrade once we are through the Debut Queue, and again once they get all the Mew Aqua... so it's more of a quarter-season and three-quarter-season upgrade.
  • In Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, once the Power Trio gets the song KIZUNA, they get instant Frilly Upgrade - and so do the Aloof Ally they were saving and the girls trapped in People Jars, despite not doing anything. You tell me how that works.
  • In Transformers Super God Masterforce, Ginrai discovered a trailer approximately 1/3 of the way through the series, and learned to combine with it a couple of episodes later at a moment of dramatic need. A around the 2/3 point, he got his hands on the Godbomber, which allowed him to become even more super.
  • A frequent occurrance in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, first with Nanoha and Fate adopting the cartridge system in A's. It's usually accompanied by a new Transformation Sequence for the characters as well. In Striker S the devices had limiters and were actually capable of doing things like the dagger mode of Cross Mirage as early as the time the Forwards had received them. The only sort of upgrade that happens to them is Mach Caliber being tweaked to better support Subaru.
  • Gravion doesn't get it's upgrade until midway through the second season/series.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's most obvious upgrade is hijacking a flying Ganmen and converting it into a jetpack, but it's also mentioned that most of the protagonists' Ganmen were upgraded during the Time Skip.
    • The protagonists' base also upgrades throughout the series: first is the captured Dai-Ganzan, then the Arc-Gurren (and Arc-Gurren Lagann), then Cathedral Terra (and Super-Galaxy Gurren Lagann), and finally the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
    • In a subversion or parody of the usual mid-season upgrades, the new, larger and more powerful Space Gunmen are actually piloted by the original Gunmen, so it's giant robots driving even larger giant robots. Repeat this four times for Gurren Lagann in all its variations.
  • Chachamaru in Mahou Sensei Negima gains one of these after her Gadgeteer Genius creator Hakase gathered the observed battle-data of the previous arc. Among a few new weapons and a speed upgrade, one major aesthetic improvement has her concealing her mechanical joints with softer, more realistic skin. She still has a set of antenna ears on her head, so its not hard to figure out she's a robot.
  • Chor Tempest in Simoun suffers a mid-season downgrade from the Arcus Prima to the Messis when the former ship is sabotaged.
  • Mazinger Z and his sequels:
    • Mazinger Z was routinely upgraded to allow it fight on different enviroments successfully or to endow it with new weapons to fight increasingly powerful enemies. The most promintent of those upgrades was the Jet Scrander. Sayaka's robot -Aphrodite A- also got upgraded in the third episode with its signature missiles, and in one of the last episodes Sayaka got her upgrade to Diana A.
    • Great Mazinger got the Big Booster (a Jet Pack increased its speed and was endowed with a retractable spike could be used to impale enemies with) relatively late in the series.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer got upgraded throughout the series with several attachable, flying vehicles allowed it maneouvering more easily in space, in sea or underground: Double Spacer -piloted by Kouji-, Marine Spacer -piloted by Hikaru- and Drill Spacer -piloted by his sister Maria.
    • Mazinkaiser subverts and plays straight this trope. Kouji Kabuto gets the upgrade from Mazinger Z to Mazinkaiser in the first episode and doesn't get his Kaiser Scrander upgrade until the final episode. However, Sayaka Yumi gets her upgrade from Aphrodite Ace to Venus Ace in episode 3.
  • The titular mecha in Aura Battler Dunbine is replaced midway through the show by the new Aura Battler Billbine (as a gift, no less).
  • Full Metal Panic! plays this trope straight. Mithril's M9E Gernsbacks are shown to be capable of opening a can of whoopass on just about every other stuff used at the time and coming out victorious (mainly due to them being third gen; in comparison, mainstream second-gen uses more-or-less real-life technology). Until, smack dab in the middle of the first season, Kurz is nearly killed when the Codarl blows his M9 to hell and back with his own shot. Conveniently, Mithril has their own Super Prototype, the ARX-7 Arbalest (essentially an M9 with Full-Contact Magic capabilities) which they quickly airdrop for Sousuke. Cue Gauron getting his ass kicked. He later returns with an advanced Codarl model so that's a Mid-Season Upgrade for the bad guys.
    • And much later, the Arbalest gets torn up by the Belial. No problem, though; it's wreck is used to birth the most badass Arm Slave ever made: the ARX-8 Laevatein which is somewhere between Super Prototype and Ace Custom since it's truly one-of-a-kind but it was specifically built for the pilot.
  • The Brave Series, which the above-mentioned Gaogaigar belongs to, all make heavy use of this trope. In general, the series feature one main mecha and one or two teams of combining support mecha, though occasionally this is switched up with one team of support mecha and one other stand alone mecha. Each series runs 52 episodes or there abouts. By episode 18, one of those two support mecha teams will have gained an additional (usually fourth) member, allowing all four to combine into a larger mecha. Around episode 25-27, expect the main mecha to get knocked out of action somehow, and a new hero mecha introduced to replace him in fighting evil. By episode 32, you can look forward to the original hero mecha and the new one combining into a new form (usually named "Great" Hero mecha). The other support team doesn't usually get an upgrade. Occasionally, new mecha are introduced who are either stand alone guys, or who turn into weapons for the hero mecha, giving him a second mid-season upgrade.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, the cars get mid-season upgrades as the series progresses. For instance, Hayato's Asurada GSX is upgraded to the Super Asurada 01 in the second half of the TV series. In 11, it's been upgraded into the Super Asurada AKF-11, and in SAGA, the car is upgraded once again into the v-Asurada AKF-0-AKF-0/G. Similar cars get the same treatment.
  • Partway through the second season of Initial D, Takumi's AE86 Trueno breaks down (along with him) and gets an engine swap. His father lets this to happen so as to force Takumi to accept the swap.
  • Subverted with Tiger and Bunny's Good Luck Mode, a modification Doc Saito added to Kotetsu and Barnaby's Powered Armor in episode 5. What does it do, exactly? Absolutely nothing. Except make them look cooler.
  • Bakusou Kyoudai Let's and Go, features several upgrades for each of the good guys mainly because their racing cars are occasionally trashed by battle cars. Go and Retsu each get two upgrades of Magnum (Victory Magnum and Cyclone Magnum) and Sonic (Vanguard Sonic and Hurricane Sonic) in the first season.


  • Gandalf The Grey dies and returns as the more powerful Gandalf The White.
  • Tony Stark has a tendency to do this in the Iron Man movies. In the first movie, he upgrades his chest-mounted arc reactor to increase its power output although this upgrade gets removed for his final fight scene, and in the second he has to engineer a new atomic element to both power up the reactor and stop it from killing him,.
    • Also applies in a slightly more traditional sense—the armor he's using in the end of the first movie is Mark III, and by the end of the second he's up to Mark VI.
      • Also the film's version of War Machine is Tony's Mark II armor upgraded by the military.
    • This is scheduled to happen again in The Avengers; Tony upgrades to Iron Man Mark VII armor, and SHIELD gives Captain America (comics) a new, modern uniform to replace his World War II outfit.
  • In the Transformers live-action movies, Bumblebee changes from a beat-up 70's Camaro into a brand-new 2009 Camaro, and the sequel the twins go from being an ice cream truck to Chevy compacts.

Live Action Television

  • Super Sentai, and by association the Power Rangers, often get new set of Humongous Mecha about midseason... usually just in time for the Christmas shopping season. Alternatively, they're released one by one through the early episodes, and get a combined form at midseason. Some seasons have upgrades to the Rangers' suits as well.
    • Occasionally the older Zords remain usefull until late in the season for instance In Space and Jungle Fury.
      • And the Red Ranger will always gets first dibs on the one of a kind weapon.
      • You can tell when it's an anniversary series by the number of mechs. In Power Rangers Wild Force, PR's tenth season and sentai's 25th, there were no less than three Zords per Ranger for a total of 18, brought to 23 with the five components of the "Lord of the Wild Zords", Animus.
    • The suits also have it sometimes. The Rangers get a team upgrade, with the Sixth Ranger usually left out because he's so tricked-out to begin with.
      • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers starts with the Metallic Armor, which all six get. They wanted to use the redesigned suits from The Movie, but those weren't durable enough to hold up. (You'll notice even the movie has way more questing than actual fighting in the new suits.)
      • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy has the quest for the Lights of Orion, which ends with the Rangers getting an upgrade from the said MacGuffin. It works on their suits, their Zords, and even the Zords of the Lightspeed Rangers.
      • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue doesn't have a full suit change, but the Battle Boosters give them a variety of new weapons and powers by entering codes, including some that weren't in sentai.
      • Power Rangers Ninja Storm doesn't have a full suit change either, but they get new swords that work with their elemental powers. Also, the grunts do get a full upgrade, turning red and becoming strong enough to require the Rangers to upgrade too.
      • Power Rangers Dino Thunder has the Super Dino Mode, where the suits get spiky and their powers increase. Each Ranger has to learn to use it one by one, instead of them showing up all at once. In sentai, the Rangers all had this from the beginning and it wasn't treated as a special upgrade. In PR, the main Power Trio learns to use it during the evil White Ranger arc. the White Ranger himself gets it once he stops being evil, his evil clone has it all along, and finally, Tommy - yeah, that Tommy - gets it once he emerges from his Real Life Writes the Plot complications and returns in full from the aftermath of the White Ranger arc.
      • Power Rangers SPD gets SWAT mode. Comes with new armor, a van that's more like a tank, new weapons, and soon, new highflying Zords.
      • Power Rangers Mystic Force's Legend powers change more of the suit than any other Ranger upgrade, but come with less swag than SWAT did.
      • Power Rangers Jungle Fury has an upgrade just for the main Power Trio.
      • Power Rangers Samurai has a lot of PR-exclusive suits... that are only used while piloting the Zords. They're based on the toys, which have a low accuracy level. The actual upgrade is a super mode that can only be used by one Ranger at a time.
      • Sentai upgrades not seen in PR: In the team up between Gekisou Sentai Carranger and Denji Sentai Megaranger, the Megarangers use Megatector armor the Space Rangers never had and the Megarangers would never use again. Also, rumor has it that Tensou Sentai Goseiger is getting skipped, so no Miracle Gosei Headders if that's true.
    • In Beetleborgs Metallix, the Beetleborgs get the ability to combine their new powers with their old ones from Big Bad Beetleborgs, making the Mega Spectra Beetleborgs.
  • More or less invented by Kamen Rider Stronger and repeated with Kamen Rider Skyrider, Kamen Rider in recent years will add on to their flagship, and in some cases Lancers. These could be considered more of reinventions in some seasons, but either way they all get one new ability or change up. In order:
    • Kamen Rider Kuuga's Rising forms serve as Mid Season Upgrades for all of his beginning forms, and this is followed by Amazing Mighty definately takes this role. It granted him the ability to detonate anything in a one hundred mile radius of his rider kick. Ultimate also allows him to create bursts of fire and summon his weapons. And then there was his Ultimate Form.
    • Kamen Rider Agito gets Trinity, Burning, and Shining Forms; the last of which gives him a pair of dual swords and the ability to create light in blinding amounts.
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki Survive and Knight Survive both had the ability to convert their Contract Monsters into living motorcycles crucial to their finishing attacks. They were both given a new main weapon in the form of the gunlike Drag Visor-Zwei (which can grow a blade) and Knight's sword and shield. Both weapons can also become guns/crossbows.
    • Kamen Rider Faiz had Axel Form, which was his speed form, and then Blaster Form, which gave him several new abilities. The first of which was his new shotgun/sword the Faiz Blaster. The second was a jetpack added onto his armor. The last was four new attacks, two being weapon based, one being a rider kick, and the last being a blast from his backpack.
    • Kamen Rider Blade acquired Jack Form and then King gained the ability to use his entire deck apparently endlessly, as well as being the only rider to mix the decks for two of his finishers when his BFG alone just didn't cut it.
      • Garren got a Jack Form and Chalice became Wild Chalice.
    • Kamen Rider Hibiki acquired the Hibki Kurenai form to fight the more powerful summer monsters (generally the summer is in the middle of the season run) and then Armed Hibiki form with a sword and armor.
    • Kamen Rider Kabuto's Hyper Form gave him the ability to move through time entirely.
    • Kamen Rider Den-O got Climax Form after the end of the first movie right in the middle of the series, and then the Super Mode Liner Form became a Ditto Fighter that could simultaneously use all the powers of his main four forms. The third movie shows he can use his other forms moves as well.
      • Zeronos that same series gained a BFG wielding recolor towards the end.
    • Kamen Rider Kiva got Emperor Form and the Conspicuous CG of Flight Style. And before both of those there was DoGaBaKi Form.
      • Ixa gained a rather potent pistol that turned him into Rising Ixa.
    • Kamen Rider Decade gained Complete Form which gave him the ability to summon the other Riders final forms and use a dual version of their finisher. Cool, but not as cool as Rising Ultimate Kuuga.
      • Diend gets his own Complete Form in Den-O's 7th movie, allowing him to summon the main movie Riders, except for Kuuga (no movie) and Den-O (too many movies).
    • Kamen Rider Double has recently acquired the Fang Memory, allowing him to become the Swiss Army Weapon FangJoker form.
      • Double's CycloneJoker Extreme and Accel Trial will be the two Riders' complete upgrade forms.
    • Kamen Rider OOO obtains the power of the TaJaDor Combo, using the power of Ankh's Core Medals.
    • Kamen Rider Fourze gets his upgrade, Magnet States, pretty early in the series, at episode 19. Ironically, it's Meteor who gets his Super Mode roughly in the middle of the series, beating Fourze, who has yet to unleash his own Super Mode.
    • With more forms and Riders in more recent series, it's hard to know what's considered the real Mid-Season Upgrade. Tajador feels like a Super Mode, but then comes Putotyra... which is almost a Super-Powered Evil Side. Usually, the 'dangerous' mode is only dangerous for a short time or its risk is an Informed Ability. Those dino medals stay a Bad Thing throughout. Also, Climax Form and Liner Form both have elements of All Your Powers Combined. Climax is snazzier but Liner comes later. It's hard to tell which has more power.
  • Midway through the second season of Babylon 5, the station received an upgrade to its defensive systems, due to increasing tensions amongst the major powers. General Franklin remarks that the upgraded station would be capable of taking on a starship in battle.
  • Almost happened in Crusade, where after five episodes were shot the sets & uniforms got overhauled to look a lot cooler. Then Executive Meddling led to the upgrade-style episodes being aired first.

Video Games

  • In the Japanese video game 70s Robot Anime Geppy-X (a horizontal shoot-em-up that's an Affectionate Parody of the Getter Robo franchise (as well as Mazinger Z and the Macekre that was Starvengers)), halfway through the game your mecha is destroyed, but luckily you receive an upgraded version of it, Geppy-XX, which you keep for the remainder of the game.
  • Super Robot Wars, while a game series, follows this trope almost to the letter. Almost every game will feature the main character (and sometimes even characters from existing anime beyond the ones featured in the shows themselves) getting at least one of these. Most notably, in the Original Generation games and the Animated Adaptation, Ryusei goes through 2 and a half of these (the half being finding out the units of his squad actually make up a Combining Mecha.)
    • It should also be noted that Mazinkaiser was originally created as a Mid Season Upgrade for Mazinger Z in F Final.
    • In a PSP exclusive mission for Super Robot Wars MX, Aqua pilots a Dragoon for the second time and together with the Dragonars, have to take on a large force of Martian Successors. More enemies show up and wreck Aqua's Dragoon. As a result, the Dragonar team and Aqua are outnumbered. Hugo shows up with an upgraded robot and shows how powerful it is. This instance was supposed to show that Hugo and the mecha got improved after the Medius Locus wrecked it 2 missions ago.
    • Some of the games in the series parody this by including an upgrade called "Tem Ray's Circuit", which actually decreases the abilities of any mecha it's installed on. It's in reference to the original Gundam series, in which Amuro's father, delusional from oxygen deprivation, gave Amuro a useless piece of junk that he claimed would drastically increase the Gundam's power.
  • From Thunder Force IV onwards, it's become a tradition to have the player ship get a permanent upgrade halfway thorugh the game to some pretty awesome music.
    • In Thunder Force IV, your ship gets an attachment that allows you to fire the Thunder Sword.
    • In Thunder Force V, you swap out the Gauntlet for the Brigandine, and proceed to blast the shit out of a battleship fleet until you go to the next stage or run out of Life Meter (at which point you revert to the Vambrace, essentially an enhanced Gauntlet).
    • In Thunder Force VI, if you are using the Phoenix, the end of the second-to-last stage upgrades you to the Syrinx, which comes with an improved Wave weapon.
  • Late into 1944: Counter Attack, your Attack Drones get swapped out with more advanced drones that shoot lasers. Laser drones in World War II.
  • In Xenogears, you start getting upgraded gears for several characters about midway through. Some are just other gears you find (that happen to be almost exactly like the ones they're replacing) but some are actual upgrades by use of "Anima Relics". Fei's Weltall gets upgraded twice: Once to Weltall-2 and then near the end of the game to the titular Xenogears.

Western Animation

  • The Unicron Trilogy was built on this trope.
    • In Transformers Armada Smokescreen is killed messily, but Red Alert makes a new body for him. Later a number of the cast members supposedly get "upgrades", but they're mostly repaints.
    • The Quirky Miniboss Squad of Tidal Wave (later Mirage), Cyclonus (later Snowcat) and Demolishor (who is...still Demolishor) get new bodies inTransformers Energon. The repaint issue shows up again.
    • Overhaul gets upgraded to the lion Leobreaker in Transformers Cybertron. Red Alert, Hot Shot, and Scattorshot are given new bodies when they become the Cybertron Defense Force.
  • In Beast Wars the "Transmetal" upgrades in season 2 were originally going to be done throughout the season, but Hasbro mandated that it all happen at the beginning of the season. Season 3 got to do it's "Transmetal 2" upgrades gradually, with Cheetor and Dinobot 2 getting that status at roughly the halfway point.
  • Winx Club S2 had the Charmix, although that occurred late in the season, and was completely ignored by the next.
  • In Exo Squad, The Squad's mechs were upgraded with Super Prototype devices mid-second season. Although said devices didn't bring about a combat performance improvement as most examples above, they did save their lives on several occasions later.
  • A rare Children's example is Henry The Green Engine. In the famous Flying Kipper episode he crashes and is rebuilt from a cartoonishly designed locomotive into a Black Five; a locomotive design that is historically the best mixed traffic locomotive ever built. This move by the Rev Awdry was due to his original illustrator not knowing much about steam engine designs.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars had Anakin, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, Ventress and Palpatine receiving updated character models in the middle of the Season Three,


  • In the Voyage of the "Princess Ark" series (Mystara travelogue first published in Dragon magazine), the eponymous airship is accidentally upgraded when a poorly understood enchantment binds the spirit of a powerful extraplanar sphinx...eagle...dragon... creature to it. Then she gets fully transferred to the ship, and not only does the Princess Ark become sentient in the process, but it rebuilds itself into the shape roughly resembing that entity's old body, with sails mounted laterally for wings and a separated bridge/head that floats above its shoulders, turning side to side to 'look' at things or deliver a lightning-blast roar.
  • Bionicle had this as its method of keeping hero characters in focus - as with every change came new toys. It was either this, or bringing in new heroes and push the old ones back, the creators explained.
    • The Toa Mata upgraded into Toa Nuva 2/3 of the way through the first umbrella-arc. This happened, by the way, directly after the enemies had been dealt with and just before the new ones showed up.
    • The entire Matoran populace of the island Mata Nui received new, stronger bodies halfway through the 2003 story.
    • Six of those original Matoran characters then became Toa Inika around the middle of the 2006 story. Then, the following year (1/3 of the way through the main arc), were transformed into Toa Mahri. Although in this case, it can be doubted if this really was an upgrade - they lost several unique powers, but also gained new ones.
    • The Toa Nuva returned after a 4 year-long break (in real life), when they received their Adaptive Armor upgrades at the 2/3 mark of the aforementioned arc. Then, mid-2010, their leader, Tahu had to be downgraded for the Grand Finale, back into his Toa Mata state, but kept the Adaptive Armor.