Created By: crazysamaritan on September 29, 2017 Last Edited By: Pichu-kun on November 30, 2017

Running Late Plot Hook

A character gets involved in an event because they're late.

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When a character, running late to their school, job, or just an appointment, finds themselves getting involved in something that will make them even more late. This device is commonly used for the Inciting Incident of plot arcs and entire series, and often overlaps with habitually late characters. The character's efforts at a frantic rush, using short cuts, shaving or adding makeup while on the run, all come to naught as the event they've run into is probably going to make them even more late.

Being late can cause a Crash-Into Hello. Compare to Toast of Tardiness.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Hajiotsu discusses this trope when Hinozaki says he was late for school that morning, carried toast in his mouth, and still didn't get any Crash-Into Hello to start off a romance arc. His friend Kai wonders if that would even work.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!: In the first episode, Kagurazaka Asuna is running late on the way to class and bumps into the title character (who is her teacher).
  • Manabi Straight!: Two of the main characters meet while running to school late. The threat of their tardiness results in one breaking out her Hoverboard similar to the one from Back to the Future Part II (the background music also starts to Shout-Out the resemblance).
  • Maria†Holic shows Kanako running out the door with toast in her mouth in order to meet her true love.
  • Miyukichan In Wonderland. Miyuki is late to school at the beginning of the story, which leads to her passing a skateboarding bunny girl and then falling down a hole in the sidewalk. After her reluctant adventures, she wakes up, looks at the clock, finds out she's late, grabs a piece of toast, passes a skateboarding bunny girl...
  • At the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion, we get a perspective flip of the trope because we're following Shinji and Asuka who get run into by Rei, who is running wildly with a piece of toast in her mouth, trying not to be Late For School.
  • Prétear: Himeno Awayuki is running late for school, and attempts to take a shortcut. Depending on which adaptation you are following, she either wanders close to Leafenia and meets Shin, or has a rather violent encounter with Hayate; in both cases, this eventually leads to being recruited as the titular Magical Girl.
  • Project A-ko has the habitually late A-ko. Every day, she wakes up late, runs at supersonic speeds to school, and gets ambushed by B-ko before she gets there. This trope is subverted the one day A-ko actually wakes up early and wasn't going to be late to school; B-ko still had an ambush waiting for her.
  • Sailor Moon introduces Usagi to Luna by having her running late to school and going through a shortcut. The cat has been tortured by the local kids, and Usagi stops to help. When she finally gets to school, she's punished for being so late by having to stand in the hall.
  • Vividred Operation: The third episode has protagonist Akane Isshiki running late because the chaos from the initial Alone attack the previous day meant they couldn't start their paper route on time. She resorts to flying to school in her Palette Suit and ends up crashing into Wakaba, setting up her introductory episode.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Alice in Wonderland: Alice is sitting outside when she hears someone who is apparently running very late. A perspective flip of this trope, as it is the White Rabbit being late that starts the plot.

    Video Games 
  • Mitsumete Knight: The protagonist meets Hanna Shawski while both are running to school late, in a Crash-Into Hello. You learn that Hanna is usually late to school.
  • At the start of Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, you meet your partner for the second time when your partner runs, being late for school. They crash into you, and while your partner is okay, you eventually faint. When you come to, this is when you meet Audino, the nurse, who tells you that your partner was responsible for making you faint.
  • Resident Evil 2: Leon S. Kennedy overslept on his first day on the job and arrived to Raccoon City after the Zombie Apocalypse began.

    Visual Novel 

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