Created By: willyolio on January 13, 2010
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Pre-Meeting

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Trope
The main character runs into someone out of the blue. The next day, (usually at school) they think of how they'll never see this person again, when the teacher announces they have a new student... guess who? Often seen in romance stories. This can be considered a VERY shallow form of Foreshadowing. Whenever a work takes the time to show someone "accidentally" bumping into a random character, you just know they're not random... and the "reveal" is usually only 5 minutes away at most, anyways. Sometimes it's done so that the main characters can have a different first impression of each other than the rest of the cast, who simply go by a "oh, it's just a new student" attitude.

Not always a love interest; can be a rival, mentor, employee, or whatnot.

Compare Meet Cute, a sub-trope where a (future) couple meet in an unusual way and will obviously fall for each other in the future; and Chekhov's Gunman, a character who is introduced but only gradually revealed (or re-introduced) to be important to the plot much later.

Seen It a Million Times Up for Grabs

Examples: Anime and Manga
  • Kiss/Hug
  • Negima!
  • Love Hina: doubled up: Keitaro meets Naru 15 years prior, when they were little. He meets her again while looking at test scores. Then he meets her when he moves into the Hinata House.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji meeting Asuka
  • Bleach: Ichigo absorbs Rukia's powers when he meets her, the next day she shows up pretending to be a student and tells him he has to take over her job temporarily.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: Prospective teacher beats up a pervert who is feeling up a woman on the bus. Turns out both he and the woman are applying for work as teachers, and the pervert is the vice-principal...
  • HEN: Chizuru runs into Azumi in her boyfriend's apartment when Azumi first moves in, turns out she'll be attending the same school. Girls Love ensues.

Movies
  • Lake House (for Sandra Bullock's character)
  • Grease
  • High School Musical
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic: Rebecca is on her way to a job interview and "absolutely must" have a new scarf for it. She stops at a hot dog vendor to get change so she can purchase the scarf "for her sick aunt". A nice young man hands her $20 so she can be on her way and he can get his hot dog. When she arrives at the interview, the man conducting it is.... none other than the nice guy at the hot dog stand.

Television
  • Crossing Jordan
  • It's fairly common in BritComs for the protagonist to meet and insult somebody they think they'll never see again, only to discover that the person they've insulted is their new neighbour or work boss or bank manager etc.

Literature
  • Harry Potter: In the first six books, Harry always meets his new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher before school starts.

Video Games
  • Final Fantasy VIII: Squall bumps into several people early in the game who turn out to be important characters. namely, Ellone in the infirmary, Selphie in the hallway, Rinoa at the dance party
Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • September 23, 2009
    random surfer
    The backstory Grease (the film version anyway). Danny met Sandy over the summer and had a Chaste Love Affair; then she went back to Australia - Or Did She? No, she didn't. Subverted in that Danny didn't want to see her again, especially not when he was acting all tough in front of his friends.
  • September 23, 2009
    willyolio
    • i just read this in the manga Kiss/Hug.
    • Negima! has this happen at the very beginning.
  • September 24, 2009
    Echidnite
  • September 24, 2009
    Bisected8
    Elaborating on the Bleach example;

    The main character, Ichigo, meets a Shinigami named Rukia and ends up absorbing her powers after she's too injured to continue to fight. The next day she turns up as a student at his school and informs him that he'll be taking over her job until her powers return.
  • September 24, 2009
    Feefers
    Hey now let's not run into this pre-meeting without a pre-meeting pre-meeting.

    ... Oh not that kind of meeting...
  • September 24, 2009
    Genuine
    Subverted (sort of) in Lake House. For Sandra Bullock's character it's a Pre-Meeting, for Keanu Reeve's character it isn't.
  • September 24, 2009
    willyolio
    • Love Hina, doubled up: Keitaro meets Naru 15 years prior, when they were little. He meets here again while looking at test scores. Then he meets her when he moves into the Hinata House.
  • September 24, 2009
    Iron Salticus
  • September 25, 2009
    henke37
    I think the Hellsing anime had this in the first episode. It's been a while since I saw it. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has one of the more interesting variants, with the main protagonist trying to kill himself during the meeting.
  • September 26, 2009
    random surfer
    In an episode of - I want to say Crossing Jordan - the protagonist female character hooks up with a random stranger in a bar, only to find out the next day that the guy's her new antagonist at work, or in a court case, or something. (Needs A Better Description)
  • December 15, 2009
    willyolio
    wow, i totally forgot about this trope. i keep having such a hard time finding examples, but i know it's used a lot.

    I'd say it's a very very shallow form of Foreshadowing. whenever a work takes the time to show someone "accidentally" bumping into a random character, you just know they're not random... and the "reveal" is usually only 5 minutes away at most, anyways.
  • December 15, 2009
    Nyperold
    • The first chapter of the second volume of Ichigo Mashimaro has English girl Ana, who's been living in Japan since she was 6, determining not to speak any more Japanese... only to respond "Ah! Konnichiwa!" to Miu's "Guudo moningu." She figures it'll be okay since she's in a different grade from Miu and Chika, so she probably won't run into them again, right? Well, she befriends a girl in her class, kind of out of necessity, as she spoke Japanese in front of her out of habit. Then she said she was meeting up with some friends...
  • December 15, 2009
    Chabal 2
    Neon Genesis Evangelion, with Shinji and Asuka, as I recall.
  • December 16, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Through book 6, Harry Potter met all of his Defense Against The Dark Arts teachers before classes began.
  • December 16, 2009
    Lee M
    It's fairly common in BritComs for the protagonist to meet and insult somebody they think they'll never see again, only to discover that the person they've insulted is their new neighbour or work boss or bank manager etc.
  • December 27, 2009
    willyolio
    think this is enough to launch? i know i've seen this often, trying to rack my brain over all the manga i've read... haha.
  • December 28, 2009
    Dcoetzee
    This is pretty similar to Chekhovs Gunman. Do you think it's distinct?
  • December 28, 2009
    SMARTALIENQT
    I think it is - Chekhov's Gunman is more of a plot element, while this is more romantic. Maybe it just Needs A Better Title,

    High School Musical, in keeping with the similarity to Grease, has Troy and Gabriella meeting at a New Year's party, then leaving, never to see each other... until Gabriella is the new kid at East High.
  • December 28, 2009
    Ronka87
    Closely related to Meet Cute.

    Also, can we lose the anime bend to the description? It doesn't matter if the trope is found a lot in anime-- almost all tropes are used in all media, and making something an "anime" trope makes a universal trope seem exclusive. We've established this has been used in Grease, High School Musical, Harry Potter, Crossing Jordan, and Lake House, none of which are anime.
  • December 28, 2009
    Dcoetzee
    This also looks like a subtrope of Early Bird Cameo.
  • December 28, 2009
    willyolio
    i think Meet Cute would be a sub-trope... definitely related though.
  • December 28, 2009
    luminum can
    [[Shuffle!], in the visual novel. Rin meets both Sia and Nerine on the way home from school; the next day they both are transferred into his class.
  • December 28, 2009
    BlackDragon
    Great Teacher Onizuka. On the bus on his way to a job interview, Onizuka catches a middle-aged pervert feeling up a female passenger, and leaps to her defense, beating down the pervert while ignoring his claims of being 'a really important man'.

    Later, when he arrives at the job interview, he finds that the female passenger is a fellow applicant for the job... and that the school vice-principal, who is the one running the interview, is the pervert he beat up on the bus... needless to say, he doesn't get the job. Right away. :p
  • December 29, 2009
    SKJAM
    Found it! It's Cinderella Express. Softcore hentai anime OAV--man on way to his wedding meets a really hot young lady on the train, she comes on to him, he figures this is his last chance for whoopee before he has to settle down. After what is apparently some really good sex, she gets off the stop before he does, and fellow thinks he'll never see her again. She is in fact his new sister-in-law, who will be living with the couple until she can get her own place....
  • January 12, 2010
    willyolio
    i think i'm going to launch this one. any other examples to add?

    Code Geass: Lelouch helps Kallen win a battle, before realizing she's one of his classmates. do you guys think this fits, even though they didn't exactly meet face-to-face?

    also, in HEN: Chizuru runs into Azumi in her boyfriend's apartment when Azumi first moves in, turns out she'll be attending the same school...
  • January 12, 2010
    SKJAM
    Upon further investigation, I discovered a point that my poor Japanese had not made clear to me in my viewing of Cinderella Express. The girl our protagonist meets on the train isn't there by coincidence; she's a hooker his buddies hired as a "farewell gift." (The fact that she's his new sister-in-law, however, is a coincidence.)
  • January 13, 2010
    spideydude
    In the film Confessions of a Shopaholic, Rebecca is on her way to a job interview and "absolutely must" have a new scarf for it. She stops at a hot dog vendor to get change so she can purchase the scarf "for her sick aunt". A nice young man hands her $20 so she can be on her way and he can get his hot dog. When she arrives at the interview, the man conducting it is.... none other than the nice guy at the hot dog stand.
  • January 13, 2010
    the grene kni3t
    In Psmith in the City, Mike chews out a Mr. Bickersdyke for walking in front of the bowling-screen while he is bowling in a cricket match. When he arrives in the City, Mr. Bickersdyke is his new boss at the bank.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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