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To fit a typical episode formula, the heroes may have to spend a certain amount of time fighting a single opponent. However, dramatic episodes may have the heroes fighting hordes of similar minions or critters. Characters with special abilities will suddenly seem much much stronger than before, and how this came to be is almost never explained. They'll be cutting through them like harvesters through hay, making you wonder why it wasn't so easy before.

This often comes up in OVAs and Non Serial Movies, which have less time and more budget to impress the viewer, but occasionally it'll pop up in the show proper near the season finale.

Related to the Law Of Conservation of Ninjitsu. Contrast So Last Season.

Examples of Big-Budget Beef-Up include:

Anime and Manga

  • Sailor Moon often did this near the end of its seasons with nondescript monsters. The usual sentai formula of fights also didn't apply to the movies, which often have individual characters mowing down hordes of monsters.
    • Especially jarring in the movie, where a single plant demon proves a challenge to the entire team. Then they destroy hundreds of them in a massive battle.
      • Partially Justified by the fact that the first demon managed to feed on some lifeforce before the fight.
    • The Live Action version, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, did as well, which is expected as it's a Toku series.
  • Fighting Game Anime like Street Fighter and Fatal Fury are notorious for featuring Ki Attacks much more powerful than the games would suggest. (And in reverse, when Ranma ½ was turned into a Fighting Game, Ranma's extraordinarily powerful Ki Attacks were substantially weakened.)
  • While in Neon Genesis Evangelion we were lucky to get a single Angel at a time, End of Evangelion showed Asuka and Unit 02 defeating nine Mass Production Evas. In five minutes. And if you thought they wouldn't miss a chance to subvert this, you guessed right.


  • Reavers, by the end of Serenity, seem to have lost their ability to fight at all, as River alone is able to somehow get two of their weapons, never get shot, never get tranqed, and she kills at least 1 ships worth of them. To be fair, she had been through some tough shit recently, and was acting to save her brother and Kaylee, and last time she was acting to save someone she looked at 3 men, took a gun, turned away, closed her eyes, and shot them all dead in seconds. Still, 3 men with guns isn't the same as a bunch of space zombies, and she only had an axe and a sword (one in each hand). One must still wonder why she didn't do this at the start, as her friends were in danger, and there were less Reavers on the ground.
    • Maybe because at that point she was still in the midst of a several-year long Heroic BSOD and it took her brother being in danger to knock her out of it?
  • Godzilla: Final Wars had this in spades. In the ultimate fanboy "Godzilla versus Everyone" film, Big G plows through almost all his classic opponents, easily dispatching monsters that formerly fought him for an entire movie. In fact, at one point he takes down three at once in a fight that lasts about a minute. In a largely unrelated bit of intense Fan Service, he also kills the American Godzilla in a matter of seconds.
  • When Star Trek: The Next Generation made the jump from syndicated series to big budget movie Star Trek Generations, The Bridge was upgraded with additional space specifically to fit in more Explosive Instrumentation to dramatically send more Red Shirts flying during the action sequences.
  • While Mystery Science Theater 3000 had always had a pretty small budget, The Movie had a larger budget, thanks to being backed by Universal Studios. However, the only thing really different is that everything seemed bigger (including an incredibly expanded set showing other areas of the SOL).
  • The second Gamera film Gamera vs. Barugon has noticeably scaled up, well, everything. Bigger sets, better monster suits, better music, better actors, and a more solid over directing style.

Live Action TV

  • Power Rangers occasionally had the bad guys animate a whole bunch of monsters at once, only for them to fall to this trope.
    • The Non-Serial Movie has three main monsters and countless creatures springing from Ivan Ooze. It should be noted also that the rest of the budget was used for the Rangers' suits (they all get breastplates, while some of them gain special abilities) and the special effects, which step up from People in Rubber Suits to Conspicuous CGI.
      • However, this is a case of the Beef Up failing, and actually made the movie worse. The cgi zords were terrible, the costumes were hard to move in and fell apart easily, and the American action movie style fighting just didn't go well with the typical Sentai fighting of the regular series.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7 introduced the Turok-han or "Uber Vamps" that are sort of the vampire equivalent of a missing link. They're super hard to kill with chests as hard as concrete so staking is a problem. Buffy spends the first episode they're introduced fighting and killing one of them. The whole episode. Then in the finale the good guys face off against literally thousands of them in a free-for-all fight under the hellmouth and even the more inexperienced members of the team are dusting them left and right. Joss Whedon mentioned in interview that he was aware of how little sense this made but stood by the episode.
    • They did get some Applied Phlebotinum (the scythe spell) to account for the mass group Took a Level In Badass, though.
    • Fear may have also been a factor - not knowing what of the 'usual tricks' would work, particularly when it seemed to fail the first time.
    • They know how to kill regular vampires and still get kicked in, no excuse.
  • Kamen Rider series tend to have one of the Monsters of the Week become a Mook near the end of the season, with multiple costumes made for bigger fight scenes. Their movies also tend to have better wirework, more complex action scenes, and more explosions.
  • Doctor Who is this trope in spades. For example, the Daleks are galaxy spanning empires that can field thousands of units - and yet the most we ever saw were the same four or so Daleks costumes paraded around in a circle to make them seem more numerous. . . until the 2005 revival, where the climax of the series featured a Big Budget long shot with millions of Daleks all lusting for the destruction of the Doctor and the extermination of the human race. It made every fan weep tears of joy.

Western Animation

  • American Dad doesn't use any of the budget that one would expect for them to use buying the rights to flashback jokes. Instead, they save their budget to take brief indulgences in awesomely animated action-based episodes. Hell, for "Dungeons and Wagons", the amount of budget used for the RPG plot was literally described as "all of it". These episodes usually feature at least two separate hordes of something.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars had a major shift from the first season to the second season. Compare the Ryloth campaign from season one to the Geonosis Campaign of season two. And then compare THAT to the Kamino battle of season three, and then Umbara from season four.
  1. he's the founder AND president of Khara inc., the company who makes the Rebuild films; so in a way, he's his own boss