Naive Newcomer

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Miranda: O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures
are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world,
That has such people in't!

Prospero: Tis new to thee.

Character whose inexperience with the world presented by the show allows them to act as the Audience Surrogate. Often it is through their eyes that we are introduced to the show's principal characters and milieu (see Welcome Episode). Sometimes incorporates qualities of The Watson and Fish Out of Water. May lack Genre Blindness.

They may be Trapped in Another World, new additions to a Wizarding School, the fresh recruit, or just The Intern, but the device is the same.

In dangerous situations, this character may condemn himself as a coward for feeling fear, until a sager head tells him that only the Fearless Fool avoids that.

A popular character type in Speculative Fiction, because it allows the reader or viewer to explore the world as the character does, meaning the character is still an Audience Surrogate, but is a little more instrumental to the story because of the greater amount of details being presented.

Done poorly these characters may just become flimsy justifications for an Info Dump, making them a sort of inverse Mr. Exposition.

Can overlap with Country Mouse, Kid Appeal Character (who is also there to draw in younger audiences), Welcome to the Big City (their usual introduction to city life), Ordinary High School Student (impressionable person applied to a odd situation).

A Super-Trope to Rookie Red Ranger (the newcomer is also The Hero), Ensign Newbie (the newcomer is an officer presiding over a more experienced enlisted crew).

Compare Unfazed Everyman.

Contrast Team Prima Donna.

Examples of Naive Newcomer include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Tower of God: Twentyfifth Baam, who spent years living in a cave with only a single girl as social contact, enters the secluded world of the Tower, which is an alien environment for most, and finds out that it can get a little rough when everybody is aiming for the same.
  • Novice tennis player Eiichirou has to learn the basics of the sport in Baby Steps.
  • Rokuro Okajima, AKA Rock, from Black Lagoon.
  • The virginal Kate Curtis in the Hentai Bondage Queen Kate.
  • Soah from The Bride of the Water God, a literal Country Mouse now living at court with the Water God, and dealing with the intrigues of the Emperor.
  • Mikado Ryugamine in Durarara!!. Or is he?
    • Played straight with Yoshimune from the game 3 Way Standoff.
  • Ito Keita in Gakuen Heaven.
  • Mai in Ghost Hunt.
  • Deconstructed HARD in the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, with Shinji's partial Expy Saji Crossroads.
  • In the anime Haibane Renmei, Rakka acts as the Naive Newcomer, appearing in the Haibane's world and having to have everything explained to her by the seasoned residents.
  • Keiichi in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is played as this in the first time loop, but in later ones it seems like he knows more about Hinamizawa.
  • Arika Yumemiya in Mai-Otome.
  • Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, he is a lot less of a Wide-Eyed Idealist than many examples. He also possibly already knows at least one of the hideous secrets of the Evas, though he does chose not to remember it.
  • Luffy tends to get most of these moments in One Piece, as he honestly doesn't care how the world works unless it's directly relevant to him somehow. The other members of the Straw Hat crew also occasionally get moments of it, being among the very few denizens of the relatively tame East Blue to travel the considerably more deadly Grand Line, and thus having heard precious little about it beforehand.
  • Haruhi in Ouran High School Host Club.
  • Ai Tanabe in Planetes.
  • Ahiru in Princess Tutu ...since she's a duck that was magically turned into a girl.
  • Ayato Kamina from RahXephon.
  • Utena early on in Revolutionary Girl Utena.
  • Tsukune in Rosario + Vampire.
  • Manta/Morty in Shaman King, though Morty is inflicted with an annoying fanboy mentality in the translation.
  • Nia in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. When first introduced, she isn't even aware of what a human is despite she and her father being ones themselves.
  • Linna Yamazaki in the Bubblegum Crisis remake, Tokyo 2040.
  • Noelle from Tenshi ni Narumon. Might be slightly subverted in that she is the heroine but the plot is told from her love interest's point of view.
  • Takumi from Initial D is an interesting variation on this for at least the first couple seasons. Despite being nearly godlike in his abilities, he's often having basic racing techniques and auto facts/mechanics explained to him because he's developed his skills in isolation on his own and has no actual background. Later on, the racers he's defeated (despite being high-level themselves) often serve as the audience to explanations.
  • Mitsuki Koyama / Fullmoon in Full Moon o Sagashite. Justified since she's been fighting a cancerous tumor most of her life.
  • Hayato Kazami from Future GPX Cyber Formula at the beginning of the TV series. This is justified as he has no previous experience in racing (outside of motorcycle racing).
  • Hanaukyo Maid Tai. Taro is this throughout both series as he's continually hit by new information and surprises.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Matty Roth from DMZ. Long story short contest: imagine an Alternate History with a Divided States of America and a continuing Civil War between the two sides. Imagine that the island of Manhattan is the line between the two sides, a No Man's Land that neither side can take, neither side will give up, and where the locals hate both sides and are trying to continue living as best they can. Now imagine a naive photographer who has just graduated college with little interest in politics or history, got himself an internship with a news corporation, and within a week wound up stranded and alone in Manhattan when the story he was going to be part of went terribly wrong. Good luck, Matty.
  • Agent J in incarnations of Men In Black: comics, and in the first movie.
  • Robyn "Toybox" Slinger at the start of Top Ten.
  • Kitty Pryde (later Shadowcat) filled this role in the X-Men comics. This is notably averted with teenage girls Rogue, Phoenix II, and arguably Jubilee.
    • Rogue, in the movie adaptation of X-Men.
    • Jean Grey served as this in the very first issue of X-Men.
    • Alison Crestmere (aka Magma) is this in X-Men Legends.
  • Wee Hughie from The Boys is entirely based around this trope.


Fan Works[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • Das Boot: The presence of a war correspondent aboard the titular vessel means that there is a proper excuse for explaining various aspects of submarine operations to the audience, by having crewmembers explain them to this character, who could reasonably be expected not to already know it.
  • Bethany from Dogma.
  • Subverted in Ghostbusters Winston Zeddemore is not a scientist, let alone a parapsychologist, and applies for the job after seeing an ad put in the paper by the seriously over-worked Ghostbusters. His interview is a small moment of comic relief suggesting that he has no idea what he's getting himself into...and then he has no problem with the job, even going so far as to suggest a paranormal explanation for why the Ghostbusters were so over-worked in the first place.
  • Agent John Meyers in the first Hellboy film adaptation.
  • Rookie cop Ellie Burr in Insomnia.
  • Ariadne in Inception.
  • Will Smith in Men in Black learns that his experience as a NYPD cop means precisely dick when he enters the new world of alien policing.
  • In the film version of Astrid Lindgren's Mio, my Mio (I think the movie title was Mio in the Land of Faraway, but I'm not sure) the titular character serves as the Naive Newcomer as he was taken from the Land of Faraway as a newborn and doesn't return until nine years later. After a while it gets a bit tedious that he constantly needs to have the world explained to him, but it also leads to a rather funny moment (largely thanks to Christian Bale's delivery). It involves Mio (Nicholas Pickard) and Jum-Jum (Bale) gallopping along a bridge that's being raised, and Mio panicks when he can't get the horse to stop. The horse then proceeds to fly across the gap in the bridge, and then the following exchange:

Mio: It felt like we were flying! I didn't know Miramis could do that!
Jum-Jum: (in a kids-are-stupid tone) What you know does not amount to much, Mio.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Older Than Radio: Lemuel Gulliver from Gulliver's Travels.
  • Harry Potter, in most of the first book and every so often thereafter.
    • Given the fact that they are attending a school, nearly all the students count as this to a degree., especially Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Draco. Ron and Hermione both have the humorous dichotomy of being both the one asking the question and the one answering the others questions, depending on the subject.
  • Dr. Maturin in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels often serves as an excuse to explain naval lingo, especially in Master and Commander. Otherwise avoided because Maturin is otherwise the most sophisticated character on board.
  • Eustace on his first trip to Narnia in Voyage of the Dawn Treader; likewise, Jill on her first trip in The Silver Chair.
  • Harry Crewe in The Blue Sword.
  • Claire Lyons in the The Clique.
  • Paul Carpenter in Tom Holt's The Portable Door (and subsequent novels). Considering the entire place pretty much is having fun keeping him thinking he's insane due to all the crazy things happening, he doesn't really fall into this trope as much as sink horrifyingly into it as it slowly closes its inky black waters around him.
  • In The Tempest, the situation is inverted: the new world is brought to Miranda's
  • John the Savage in Brave New World.
  • Thursday Next herself in the Thursday Next series. She's an apprentice in the BookWorld, and is always being educated in its many intricacies.
  • The viewpoint character of nearly every utopian novel ever written (often combined with The Watson.
  • Most fantasy novels do this to some extent. If the lead character isn't summoned from another world, he's almost certainly from a small town and hasn't experienced the larger world. Either way, many things must be explained to him and, thus, the reader. Examples are numerous.
  • In Lord of the Rings, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins grew up in the Shire, isolated from things that made you late for breakfast.
  • In The Belgariad, Garion grew up on a small farm, specifically isolated from the larger world by his "aunt".
  • In The Wheel of Time, Rand al'Thor and his friends Perrin and Matt grew up in a small town far from the turmoil of the world.
  • In Myth Adventures, Skeeve grew up in an isolated, backward universe.
  • The Ohmsfords from Shannara.
  • Foundation: "His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen Trantor before."
  • Skorpan in The Brothers Lionheart.
  • Gavin Darklighter in the first two or three books of the X Wing Series.
  • George Fewkoombey in Bertolt Brecht's novelisation of his play The Threepenny Opera. he doesn't survive it.
  • Adam of the web-novel Domina. Maybe. He looks like it at first, but then he was able to shoot a zombie without so much as blinking, so maybe he doesn't really count for the "naive" requirement.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere an Autumn Tale, Lindsey.
  • In The Monk, Antonia is so unused to life in the city that she doesn't know her custom of wearing a veil in public is considered old-fashioned.
  • In Someone Elses War, Matteo has been newly conscripted into the Lord's Resistance Army and must quickly learn to adapt to life as a combatant...until he decides otherwise.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • 3rd Rock from the Sun
  • PC Jim Carver, The Bill.
  • Constable Maggie Doyle, Blue Heelers.
  • Buck Rogers.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy was new in town and had to be introduced to everyone and to all significant locations. Gets a little odd when she's already been there for a few years and still doesn't know anyone outside of the main cast in any of her classes at their supposedly tiny school.
  • Ben in Carnivale who is the butt of many a joke among the carnival folk at the beginning of the series.
  • Diane Chambers, Cheers.
  • Elle from Criminal Minds was this in the first episode. She only stayed on for one season, and the show never used this trope again.
  • Just about all of the Doctor's companions in Doctor Who, but especially Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright in the original show, and Rose Tyler in the current revival. In those case we get introduced to the Doctor through their eyes, whereas in other companion introductions we already know the Doctor when we see him meet them.
  • Dr. John Carter (also later Lucy Knight and to a lesser extent Neela Rasgotra), ER.
  • Jack Carter, Eureka. Later season episodes justify this continued status by focusing more on his inability to understand complicated science rather than his lack of comfort with the many world-ending experiments performed in the city, though he may also be evolving into The Watson.
  • John Crichton on Farscape.
  • Simon of Firefly
  • Taken to its fullest potential in Grey's Anatomy, where the main quintet (that's Five-Man Band dressed up) are all Naive Newcomers.
  • Kyle from Kyle XY, who is essentially a 16-year old infant.
  • Detective Tim Bayliss is this for most of the run of Homicide: Life on the Street ultimately subverted at the end of the series and in the subsequent movie, where he guns down a serial killer set free in the former and confesses to his ex-partner in the latter and presumably goes to jail.
  • Detective Brian Cassidy, in the first season of Law and Order SVU. Played with in that he does not last the season.
  • Tess from McLeod's Daughters.
  • Vladimir Sharapov of The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed.
  • Alex is a new recruit of the covert assassin operation known as "Division" in the action series Nikita.
  • Tobias Beecher in the first season of Oz.
  • Power Rangers is rather fond of this, typically putting one of these in as Red Ranger. This in contrast to Super Sentai, more fond of having the same ranger be The Ace, leading to occasional amusing dissonance between character and behavior in the American version.
  • Betty Roberts in Remember WENN
  • Will Zimmerman, Sanctuary.
    • Eventually he had to pass this torch to Kate, but he still gets his chances at it occasionally.
  • From Stargate SG-1
    • Dr. Daniel Jackson. But he quickly fit in.
    • Jackson's Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Jonas Quinn, did much of the same thing, oddly enough, long after the show and other characters had all been well-established to the audience.

Sam: How come you're not smiling?
Jonas: Should I be?
Sam: Well, it is your first time being captured by a Goa'uld.
Jonas: Funny.

  • Colonel Mitchell averts this trope nicely when he joins Stargate SG-1 by having read all the mission reports. In fact, he ends up giving a lot of the background exposition, which is a nice change from Sam and Daniel always having to do it.
  • Harry Kim from Star Trek: Voyager.
  • John Burns in the first season of Taxi. Elaine Nardo was one, too, in the pilot episode.
  • Gwen Cooper, Torchwood.
  • Donna's orientation by her predecessor in a flashback sequence of The West Wing. She's not only tricked into thinking there's a nuclear warhead on the White House grounds, she reveals her surprise of this "fact" in an interview with a teen magazine, showing her "bambiesque naivite" to the world ("I'm too stupid to live!").
  • In The X-Files, Scully is a doctor and trained FBI agent, but is totally unprepared for what she's facing on her new assignment....


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The Tau Empire in Warhammer 40,000. That being said, they are still a force to be reckoned with.
  • Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings:
    • In Planescape natives and veterans to the setting can instantly tell one of these (A "prime", as said people are typically fresh off one of the various Prime Material planes) from other people, simply by how much they stare at Sigil's utter bizarreness.

And "Prime" is the in-game polite term. The not-so-polite term is the far more telling "Clueless." It's quite appropriate based on how much the setting deconstructed the typical D&D experience. It also happened in the metagame. A player new to the setting was quite likely to find the typical way he thought about D&D turned upside down.

    • Ravenloft, a Gothic horror setting which took inspiration from 18th-20th century horror literature and Hammer Horror films, had an equally disorienting effect on players who approached it following the tropes and logic of other settings or "general" D&D.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • Cyrano De Bergerac: At Act I, Christian has scarcely been twenty days in Paris and begs Ligniere to introduce him to Roxane. He also will join the Guards in the Cadets the next day.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The first two Shadow Hearts games have the female lead be a Naive Newcomer to the world of monsters and the supernatural, while Yuri is a relative old hand—and the Cool Old Guy is very much an old hand. From the New World inverts this, with the male lead being the Naive Newcomer, and the female lead the old hand, while the Cool Old Guy is likely as or more naive than the male lead, although he's too crazy to show it.
  • Tidus from Final Fantasy X. His father Jecht, while not a Point-of-view character, also suffered from this several years earlier.
  • Though an antagonist rather than a viewpoint character, Elena of the Turks in Final Fantasy VII.
  • And Vaan of Final Fantasy XII, though he's barely even an Audience Surrogate in the actual plot.
  • Legaia: Duel Saga has the protagonist filling this role. Which is really, really irksome when, after playing for twenty hours, you realize he's entirely oblivious about everything, when everything quite literally revolves around him.
  • Shirou in Fate/stay night has no training as a magus except a basic grasp of strengthening and a rather intuitive knowledge of projection. Tohsaka gets pretty annoyed that he knows next to nothing about magic and nothing at all about the Grail War. He's drastically unprepared for the violence going on, so it's a good thing he's The Hero and has a Servant so brokenly strong that she's still a match/superior to any of the other Servants except Berserker and possibly Lancer.
  • Call of Duty 4 starts off by new S.A.S. member Soap MacTavish showing his proficiency at a firing range and making his way through a 'killhouse' shooting pop-up terrorist targets. The game suggests a difficulty based on how well you manuever through said killhouse. That he soon starts taking levels in badassery needs not to be said.
  • Gears of War 2 features the main characters leading a 'green as grass' new recruit on his first patrol - who, by bizarre coincidence, is one of the three brothers of the redshirt on Marcus's squad in the previous game.
  • Like Winston Zeddemore discussed under "Films" above, the Rookie in Ghostbusters: The Video Game doesn't have much of a problem adjusting to the job of catching ghosts and stopping a supernatural apocalypse. The trope is played straight at the same time, however, as he's caught somewhat off-guard when told his job description in layman's terms is to test new gear on the off-chance it explodes. Interestingly, it's suggested that Winston has become a scientist in the time between the first movie and the game.
  • Theo Decabe, from the final game of the Chzo Mythos, is a naive newcomer. Trapped in the building of an evil occult organization Theo mostly just tries to figure out what's going on and to find a way out. Outside forces, however, conspire him to A Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Phoenix Wright starts off as this in the first Ace Attorney game. He gets nervous, but doubly becomes so when the prosecution gets the upper hand in court or if Phoenix loses his advantage in the case. On top of this, he's always looking to someone to bail him out of a jam if he gets stuck, such as Mia. Despite characters that tell Phoenix that he is blind to how things really work, he still does what he think is right by just sheer determination. By the next two games, Phoenix slowly starts to shed off his newcomer skin and by Apollo Justice, Phoenix is a lot wiser and more mellow, but still fierce in finding the truth.
  • Merrill in Dragon Age 2 has little experience with anything outside the Dalish, and is inordinately fascinated by the Kirkwall Alienage.
  • James Vega in Mass Effect 3 will be this.
  • In a very odd way, the Nameless One of Planescape: Torment; despite being hundreds of years old at minimum, everything in his bizarre world is new to him because of his amnesia.


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Todd in Wayside.
  • Fry from Futurama was a prime example of this trope...but he adapted too quickly and the writers decided to make him Too Dumb to Live.
  • Jubilee in the 1990s X-Men cartoon.
  • Doug was this slightly when he moved to Bluffington in the first (chronological) episode.