A series [[JustForFun/HowToGatherCharacters introduces the main cast]] by adding them one at a time in sequential episodes, chapters, and/or story arcs.

Usually a tactic by writers to get everyone collected before having any real plot started, and the audience feels they can start paying attention. Also a cheap way to ensure that everyone's relationship to the lead has equal history.

Sometimes followed by GreenRooming. Can be especially annoying in things like TwelveEpisodeAnime series if the cast has more than four people.

Extremely common with BishoujoSeries and [[TheUnwantedHarem Unwanted Harems]]. Even more common in computer games (namely, {{RPG}}s), with many such games introducing a new party member in each [[GameLevel area]], some even going so far as to have [[InterfaceSpoiler an obvious number of "slots" that are going to be filled up by the end of the game]].

The next step to a DebutQueue system is the CharacterMagneticTeam. Contrast YouALLShareMyStory. May involve a SecondEpisodeIntroduction. If the characters are all ''present'' in early episodes but are given characterisation episode-by-episode, see ADayInTheLimelight. Also see ArbitrarilySerializedSimultaneousAdventures for video games which begin by giving each character in the party their own level. Characters introduced by DebutQueue may also fall under HitchhikerHeroes.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/AiYoriAoshi'' spends the first several episodes simply developing the backstory and relationship between Aoi and Kaoru, then slowly begins adding the other characters over the course of the first season.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Bakemonogatari}}'' characters are usually introduced one at a time in own story arcs, after which they become part of the main cast.
* The initial story arc of ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' did this, introducing the main characters while following an essentially MonsterOfTheWeek format with lots of comic relief thrown in. After the basic backstories were squared away and the cast laid out, this entirely changed and the plot became much more serious business, in a move resembling CerebusSyndrome.
* ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'' introduces the main characters this way. Chrono and Rosette (and in the anime, some of the other members of the Order) are introduced in the first chapter/episode. The next arc then follows them saving Azmaria, who later joins them. After that arc is over, a plot triggers flashbacks concerning the BigBad and introducing Rosette's brother, around whom Rosette and Chrono's main motivations are centered. The gang takes off to find Joshua, and at the start of that arc is when the final main character, Satella, is introduced.
* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' gets the cast together rapid-fire, with Spike and Jet already established as together in episode #1, Ein joining in episode #2, Faye in #3 (kinda -- she deserts at the end, but is back for good by #4), then a brief lag until Ed joins in #9.
* Almost all of the characters in ''Manga/DeathNote'' are introduced in this fashion.
* The ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' series generally introduce one new [[EvolutionaryLevels evolution]] per episode in arcs where a new type or level of evolution is introduced.
* ''Manga/DragonBall'', to varying definitions of "main character" as many of them become {{Ascended Extra}}s and/or DemotedToExtra. The first episode of the anime introduces Goku, Bulma and the arc's villains. Over the next fourteen episodes Oolong, the Turtle, Master Roshi, Yamcha & Puar, Chi-Chi & the Ox-King, Krillin and Launch are gradually introduced. By the time we get to the portion of the series that comes to mind when people think of Dragon Ball, of course, everyone but Goku, Krillin and Bulma are largely irrelevant.
** Keep in mind though, in the manga Pilaf and co. didn't appear [[EarlyBirdCameo until the heroes were on their way to his castle for the last Dragon Ball]].
* In ''Manga/FushigiYuugi'', the whole beginning plot was pretty much jumpstarted by this - [[GottaCatchThemAll find all the seven Celestial Warriors that are scattered around the empire]].
* ''Anime/GaoGaiGar'' is accused of starting s l o w l y because it took so much time introducing several characters and tools, one at a time, about every other episode. After the final piece was in place, the battle with EI-01 happened and [[GrowingTheBeard the awesome began]].
* ''Anime/GenesisClimberMospeada'', which was {{Macekre}}d into the third section of ''{{Anime/Robotech}}'' does this with the ''real'' cast, after introducing and [[EverybodysDeadDave wiping out an entire separate cast]] in its first episode, with only the series protagonist surviving.
* The first two volumes of ''Manga/GetBackers'' focus on the titular duo and introduce their support staff, but they were kind enough to introduce the other four major characters two by two in back-to-back {{Story Arc}}s.
* ''Manga/{{Gintama}}'' spends an entire season as a DebutQueue in flashbacks after an InMediasRes {{Pilot}}.
** Actually it's only the anime that starts InMediasRes. The manga has a DebutQueue too, though. It's really not that painful because the series is focused on comedy and it's mostly episodic in the beginning.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'' started this once it was a couple arcs in, acquiring [[TagalongKid Shippo]], [[WarriorMonk Miroku]] and [[LadyOfWar Sango]] in that order, and introduced [[BigBad Naraku]] immediately after Miroku.
* The main girls in ''LightNovel/IsThisAZombie'' are introduced this way. In the first episode, main character Ayumu is already living with the necromancer Eucliwood, and is quickly joined by Haruna, a "[[MagicalGirl Masou Shoujo]]" ('magical-equipment girl'). Vampire-Ninja Seraphim is introduced in the next episode. Mael Strom, the final main girl vying for Ayumu's attention, isn't introduced until halfway through the series.
* ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' ''loves'' this. Pretty much the whole light fluff comedy beginning consisted of introducing a bunch of new characters that try to kill Tsuna. After the GenreShift, it's still done by introducing the Varia and who Tsuna's [[GottaCatchThemAll guardians]] are. Even in the latest chapters, it's still introducing more {{Bishonen}} to interest fangirls ([[spoiler: "Let me introduce you to the ''real'' six Funeral Wreaths!"]]).
* We're introduced to almost all the recurring characters in ''Manga/LoveHina'' in the first few minutes of the first episode, but Shinobu and Motoko [[EarlyBirdCameo only get a minute or so]] of screen time, just enough to set them up for their more fully developed introductions in the second and third episodes, respectively.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' introduces the bulk of the characters all at once at the beginning, but inducts them into the primary CastHerd in this manner. It starts out with Negi and Asuna being the the main characters, and then gradually incorporates more of the class into the overarching plot at the rate of three or four per arc.
* In ''Anime/OjamajoDoremi'', Hazuki and Aiko both became apprentices in episode 4 (though Hazuki is briefly introduced in the first episode, and Aiko just transferred in episode 3), Doremi's sister Pop joins the team in episode 25 (she was introduced in the first episode as well), and Onpu debuts in episode 35 (but is TheRival DarkMagicalGirl until the finale of the first season). Momoko and Hana-chan transform in the first episodes of ''Motto'' and ''Dokkan'', respectively...but Hana debuted in ''Sharp'' as a newborn.
* In the ''Manga/OnePiece'' anime, we meet Luffy and Nami in the first episode (though Nami doesn't join up with Luffy until episode 8, and was not introduced in the manga until the start of the Buggy arc). Zoro appears at the end of the premiere episode, meets Luffy in the second episode, and joins Luffy's crew as the first member in episode 3. Nami promises to tag along after the events of the Buggy Arc but isn't a fully-fledged member of the crew until the Arlong Park Arc completes. Usopp joins in episode 17 (along with the acquisition of the Going Merry), Sanji joins in episode 30, [[spoiler:and Tony Tony Chopper and Nico Robin join in episodes 91 and 130, respectively. Franky joins in episode 322, following events that caused Robin to become a true companion, Usopp to leave the crew but later apologize and come back, and the Going Merry to meet her demise, so Franky builds the Thousand Sunny. Brook joins in 381, in a hilariously perfunctory fashion.]] Vivi seems like a shoe-in to join, but ends up [[CantCatchUp not doing so after well over a year as a major character]], then decides to remain in Alabasta. It's debatable whether any characters past Sanji count since major plots already happen after that point. And others who had already joined have significant backstory-related arcs play out which cement them as members.
** This really just holds true for Luffy's first four crewmembers (Zoro, Nami, Usopp, and Sanji), who are introduced and/or join successively in the first five arcs: Zoro appears and joins in the Romance Dawn arc, then Nami is introduced and joins Luffy on a temporary basis in Buggy arc, then Usopp comes in and joins in the Kuro arc, then Sanji appears and joins in the Baratie arc, and finally, Nami joins the crew for good in the Arlong arc.
* In ''Manga/OutlawStar'', Gene, Jim and Melfina are introduced in episode 1, Aisha in episode 3 and Sukuza in episode 6.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' introduces Ash in the first episode, which also features Misty, but she doesn't properly join him until the next. Team Rocket are introduced in Episode 2 and Brock joins the team in Episode 5.
** Ash's party is also introduced in this fashion: Pikachu in Episode 1, Pidgeotto and Caterpie in Episode 3 (of which Caterpie quickly becomes a Butterfree by Episode 4), Bulbasaur in 10, Charmander in 11 and Squirtle in 12.
** Also invoked by the later series as well. In ''Advanced Generation'', we're introduced to Ash and May in episode 1, Max in episode 3 and Brock returns for episode 4. Episode 1 of ''Diamond and Pearl'' introduces us to Dawn before bringing Ash and Brock back in episode 2. And ''Black & White'' gives us Ash in episode 1, Iris in episode 2 (though she made a brief appearance in episode 1) and Cilan in episode 5.
*** As well as again lining up the full team rather quickly--Pidove in episode 2, Oshawott in episode 3, Tepig in episode 4, Snivy in episode 7 (after having a Gym Battle in episodes 5 and 6), and getting the egg for his sixth Pokémon in episode 12.
* ''Franchise/PrettyCure''
** ''Anime/YesPrettyCure5'' introduces one new Cure an episode until the full quota of five is met... except it twists it slightly with the last Cure, whose [[LonersAreFreaks personality flaws]] cause [[MissedTheCall the Call to reject her]], forcing her to use up another episode to learn AnAesop and join for real.
** ''Anime/SmilePrettyCure'' does something similar, but without the MissedTheCall part.
** ''Anime/DokiDokiPrettyCure'' twists it. The first seen Cure doesn't ''want'' to be part of a team. After the other Cures form a team, it takes about two to three episodes and a lot of convincing to get the first Cure to stop being such a cold fish and join up.
** ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' is interesting in its Debut Queue: the second Cure we meet doesn't join the main team until ''the halfway point'' after a HumiliationConga. The last Cure shows up in the ninth episode and doesn't join until episode eleven.
** ''Anime/GoPrincessPrettyCure'' introduces the first two Cures in the first two episodes. In the third episode, the characters have to search for the third Cure's TransformationTrinket. The third Cure makes her first transformation in the fourth episode, but she gives a RefusalOfTheCall until episode 5.
** ''Anime/KiraKiraPrecureALaMode'' introduces the first three Cures in the first three episodes, spends an episode with just the three of them, then gets back to introducing the last two.
** ''Anime/HugttoPrettyCure'' adds in another twist - the first two episodes introduces the first two Cures, Cure #3 shows up in episode 3 and takes two more episodes just to get her to transform and join.
* ''Manga/RaveMaster'' begins with Haru acquiring Plue. In the next volume (since the first volume all happens around his house) he runs into Elie, and has come across Musica by the end-though it takes another volume for Musica to join.
* In ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'', Moka, Kurumu, Gin, and Yukari each get a chapter/episode dedicated to their introduction, plus a chapter dedicated to them deciding which club to join. Mizore and Ruby followed a bit later.
* In the first season of ''Anime/SailorMoon'', Sailor Mercury shows up in the eighth episode, Sailor Mars in episode ten, Jupiter in episode 25, and Sailor Venus, the last of the Inner Senshi who the rest of the series focuses on, in episode 33.
* ''Anime/SamuraiSeven'' did this. Then again, ''Film/SevenSamurai'' did it first.
* ''Manga/SayonaraZetsubouSensei'' does this with the students in Itoshiki-sensei's homeroom class. They're all technically members of the class from the beginning, but they each get focus episodes that introduce them to the audience and show off their particular brand of insanity.
** Though some of them, like Kiri, Matoi and Maria (and Nami in the manga) didn't come to class until their debut episodes, and Ai deliberately [[BehindTheBlack stayed out of any shots until her debut]] because she was worried she'd ruin the anime.
* ''Manga/SgtFrog'' has the frogs appearing one by one over the first 13 episodes. When the last frog, Dororo, appears only a few episodes after Kururu, Aki notes that someone like that shouldn't appear until "volume seven" -- and, indeed, in the manga, that's when Dororo showed up.
* ''Manga/SoulEater'' has the first three episodes each introducing one of the main [[EmpathicWeapon weapon/meister]] sets before the first {{Arc}} begins.
* In the original {{OVA}} version of ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'', we (and Tenchi) meet Ryoko in the first episode, Ayeka and Sasami in the second, Mihoshi an episode or so after that, and Washuu in the sixth installment. [[AlternateContinuity Other versions]] of ''Tenchi'' compress this process, with the cycle of meetings becoming shorter and shorter until [[EveryoneMeetsEveryone they all happen in one fell swoop]] in ''Shin Tenchi Muyo''.
* ''Manga/TokyoMewMew'': The team meets Zakuro AKA Renee (their last member) in the 10th episode, but she doesn't join until the next. [=4Kids=], in order to get the kiddies to know everyone ASAP, premiered with the 12th episode.
* The Four Heavenly Kings in ''Manga/{{Toriko}}'' all get their own introductory arcs within the first season, except for Zebra, who gets his some fifty episodes into the series.
* ''Anime/ZoidsGenesis'' tries to play with this a bit, by making characters take one episode or so to actually join the team, but otherwise is the usual: The series starts with [[KidHero Ruuji]], the first episode has [[TheLancer Re]] [[TokenMiniMoe Mii]] and [[OldMaster Ra Kan]] (Not [[Manga/MahouSenseiNegima that one]]) appear as somewhat ambiguous figures (Even if [[SpoilerOpening the OP ruins this]]) but are revealed as good guys next episode. [[TheChick Kotona Elegance]] appears in ep 4 and joins in ep 5, [[TheBigGuy Garaga]] appears in ep 5 and joins by 6, [[TheSmartGuy Ron]] appears AND joins in 6, even if he doesn't gets his Zoid until ep 9, and then there's a small gap until [[SixthRanger Seijuurou]] joins in ep 10.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* John Byrne's ''ComicBook/AlphaFlight'' did a variation; all eight team-members were in the first four issues, but after that, each story until #11 was a solo story. #s2-11 ('cept 4) also had back-up features showing the origins of each character.
* This is how the original Comicbook/XMen got together, but it's only revealed in flashbacks. Professor Xavier recruited Cyclops, who in turn recruited Iceman. Together, they met Angel, and then the Beast. We see Jean Grey (who had been privately tutored by Xavier up until then) join them in their very first issue.
* ComicBook/TheInhumans entered the Marvel Universe this way within the pages of ''ComicBook/FantasticFour''. ComicBook/{{Medusa}} first appeared in #36, followed by Gorgon in #44, then Crystal, Lockjaw, ComicBook/{{Karnak}}, Triton, and ComicBook/BlackBolt in #45.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''FanFic/ThePiecesLieWhereTheyFell'': After the prologue, Chapters 1-6 introduce the main characters, each meeting the next. Chapter 7 finally brings them all together.

* ''Anime/SamuraiSeven'' did this. Then again, ''Film/SevenSamurai'' did it first.
** So it's not too surprising that ''Film/TheMagnificentSeven1960 The Magnificent Seven]]'' does it too.
* ''Film/StopMakingSense'' is probably the only concert film that does this. The members of Music/TalkingHeads come out one at a time, one person per song, followed by all the backup musicians during the fifth song. At the same time, the stage is being assembled behind them as they play.
* ''Film/TheWizardOfOz''. We don't even have to tell you which order Dorothy meets her traveling companions. You already know.
* ''Film/AliensVsPredatorRequiem'' showed each of the main characters arriving or already in town in short vignettes one after the other. In case you weren't aware these were the main characters, each vignette [[{{Anvilicious}} ends with a zoom to mid-shot for each of them]].
* Like its comic namesake mentioned above ''Film/XMenFirstClass'' included a sequence in which Charles and Eric traveled around America to gather the other members of the team.
* A particularly prolonged example is the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse, where the main characters each debut in their own movie before at last banding together in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'' - though Black Widow had to make do with getting introduced in Iron Man's [[Film/IronMan2 second movie]] and Hawkeye in ''Film/{{Thor}}''. In the movie itself, they're also introduced in this manner with different S.H.I.E.L.D. agents going out to recruit them.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** In ''A New Hope'', every major character is introduced to the viewer at the same time [=R2D2=] and [=C3PO=] meet them, or when met by other characters the droids have crossed paths with.
** ''The Empire Strikes Back'' continues the tradition. Yoda, Lando, and the Emperor only appear after they've interacted with established characters.
** And again in ''The Force Awakens''. We start on Poe, who then meets Kylo Ren, who then interacts with Hux, and the pair interact with Supreme Leader Snoke. Finn, who was introduced in the scene with Poe as well, then meets Captain Phasma before escaping with Poe. Meanwhile, BB-8 is sent off by Poe, who then meets Rey (although she is introduced just before) and later Finn. And we don't see what Han, Chewie, Maz, Leia, or [[spoiler:Luke]] are up to before they interact with the heroes.

* Roland's [[TrueCompanions ka-tet]] is introduced in this manner in Creator/StephenKing's ''Franchise/TheDarkTower''. In the [[Literature/TheGunslinger first book]], we meet Roland, then Jake (who is subsequently [[ShootTheDog lost]]). In the [[Literature/TheDrawingOfTheThree next book]], he's joined by Eddie, then Susannah. In the [[Literature/TheWasteLands third book]], Jake reappears, and he then adopts Oy.
** King handles the LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters in ''Literature/TheStand'' the same way.
* Despite being one of the two protagonists of the ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials'' trilogy, Will is not introduced until the start of the second book.
* In ''Literature/TheBelgariad'' Creator/DavidEddings uses DebutQueue quite skillfully, using three books out of five to get them all lined up (The last duck doesn't join up until the final pages of ''Magician's Gambit.'')
** And he does it again in [[ExpansionPackWorld its sequel]] ''The Mallorean'', where the last duck is only confirmed in the second half of the last book (though she was introduced in another form earlier in the series).
* Creator/DaveBarry's novels ''Literature/BigTrouble'' and ''Literature/TrickyBusiness'' introduce all of the primary characters in the first chapters before their plot threads start to (insanely) intertwine.
* ''Literature/{{Mindwarp}}'': The first six books (of ten) each introduce a new character through their own discovery of superpowers and pursuit by alien assassins, though from the second book on, previous characters would appear to aid the new kid. Once the crew is all assembled, we rapidly learn what's going on and launch the true plot, with multiple POVs in each book.
* ''Literature/TheRailwaySeries'' utilized this novel by novel for engines, each one getting an entire spotlight book to themselves (though some would make a quick introduction in another's before having a more developed one in their own). This was repeated in the ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' AnimatedAdaptation, which ran most of the novel's stories in order of their appearance.
* After the first chapters of ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' establish Charlie, his family, and the {{Backstory}} of Wonka's Factory, the Golden Ticket contest is announced. Over the next few chapters the bratty kids who find the first four tickets (and their respective parents) are each introduced in turn. Then Charlie finds the final ticket, everyone gathers for the tour, and Willy Wonka himself finally appears "onstage". The remainder of the book has a ''departure'' queue going on as each brat eliminates themselves from the tour one by one! In [[Theatre/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory the 2013 stage musical adaptation]], this trope is even more pronounced as the introductions to the brats come in the form of four consecutive {{I Am Song}}s / {{Phony Newscast}}s, each staged in a giant television set that Charlie and his family are watching.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', this is the way the Doctor picks up companions. Randomly lands somewhere, finds someone half-sensible who doesn't die by the end of the story, and then invites them along to travel with him. Usually you can predict when this will happen, due to the fact that a previous companion has just left, but sometimes it can be a little more random.
* ''[[Series/BlakesSeven Blake's 7]]'' did this with the original seven: Blake meets Vila and Jenna at the end of the first episode, Avon and Gan in episode two, Zen in episode three and Cally in episode four. It was repeated on a smaller scale with the new regulars in the third season, with Dayna being introduced in the first episode but Tarrant not until the second.
* Nathan Spring has a similar introduction to his officers in ''Series/StarCops'', meeting David Theroux in episode one, Colin Devis in episode two, Pal Kenzy in episode three (although she had a cameo in episode one), base commander Alexander Krivenko in episode four and Anna Shoun in episode six.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' did a variation: the episode "Confirmed Dead" introduced a character of the "rescue team" (although one appeared in [[CliffHanger the previous episode finale]]) in each act.
* The first sixteen episodes of ''Series/KamenRiderDenO'' follow a pretty obvious trend: a two-parter introducing an Imagin, followed by a two-parter to establish his personality and skills, followed by a two-parter introducing a new Imagin...
* The same can be said for the Kamen Rider Club in ''Series/KamenRiderFourze''. The club starts out with three members. All of them are shown as early as the first episode, but the other main characters don't join until their ADayInTheLimelight (a two-parter each), up to episode 10. The [[SixthRanger Second Rider]], Meteor, gets introduced in 16, joins the club the next episode as a FalseFriend, but only becomes a full-pledged member (i.e. he starts being more friendly) in episode ''32''.
* ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'' had an interesting variation, in that newcomers were introduced in the premiere and ''then'' everyone, old and new alike, (except the one with LaserGuidedAmnesia, who was the focus of the premiere anyway) had a flashback episode explaining their origins. Strangely, this meant that the newcomer characters were focused on before the original ones were.
* A variation appears at the beginning of the fourth season of ''Series/{{Farscape}}''. The gang had split up at the end of the third season, and they only rejoin the crew two or three at a time over the course of the first four episodes. This wouldn't normally be an example, since all of the characters were already known to viewers - except that the creators have explicitly said that they invoked this trope in order to provide new viewers with a gradual introduction to the characters and their relationships.
* At the beginning of the first season of {{Series/Colditz}} Pat Grant, Simon Carter and Dick Player get an episode each to introduce them and show their escape attempts from other camps. Phil Carrington and Colonel Preston are introduced in episode 4, along with Colditz Castle itself. Finally the German security officer, Hauptmann Ulmann is introduced in episode 5.
* In ''Series/ServantOfThePeople'', Vasiliy's sister and ex-wife are introduced in respectively episode 3 and 4, most of his team comes in in episode 8, and the final member of the team is introduced in the episode 10.
* ''Series/TinMan'' being a CyberPunk retelling of ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' introduces its cast in this way. First DG, then she meets Glitch as soon as she arrives in the OZ. After escaping, they find Cain. They finally hook up with Raw to complete the set. The Toto analogue isn't introduced until the second episode.
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'' season 1 works like this. The first few episodes serve to give a backstory to each of the Storybrooke characters. After the pilot the order goes: Regina, Snow White, Cinderella, Jiminy Cricket, Prince Charming, The Huntsman, Rumpelstiltskin and Hansel & Gretel. Starting with "7:14 AM", the episodes alternate between giving backstory to a Storybrooke character and continuing the ongoing backstory about the romance between Snow and Charming.
* Due to the "ten episodes per season" nature of the anthology series ''Series/{{Fargo}}'', characters important to the story can be introduced at any point. In the [[Series/FargoSeasonOne first season]] alone, FBI agents Budge and Pepper aren't introduced until the seventh episode, but they remain important recurring characters through the finale.
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'' season 1 goes this way: Episode 1 introduces Matt Murdock, Karen Page, Foggy Nelson, James Wesley, Leland Owlsley, Nobu Yoshioka and the Ranskahov brothers. Episode 2 introduces Claire Temple. And episode 3 introduces Ben Urich, Vanessa Marianna, and Wilson Fisk.
* ''Series/TheDefenders2017'' works like this: episode 1 introduces [[Series/Daredevil2015 Matt Murdock]], Series/JessicaJones, Series/LukeCage and [[Series/IronFist2017 Danny Rand]] and catches the audience up on things that last happened in their standalone series. Episode 2 starts the mini team-ups of the show, with Matt and Jessica meeting in an interrogation room while Luke and Danny cross paths at a crime scene. And episode 3 sees them all finally cross paths at once at Midland Circle.

* The Chieftains do this on their self-titled debut album. As noted in the original liner notes: "The first section has, in fact, been designed to introduce each of the players and the instruments they play." So the album starts off with "Sé Fáth mo Bhuartha"" (with Paddy Malone and Seán Potts playing tin whistles) then "The Lark on the Strand" (with Michael Tubriry on flute, David Fallon on bodhrán, and Martin Fay on fiddle), then "An Fhallaingín Mhuimhneach" (with Michael Tubriry on concertina), and finally "Trim the Velvet" (with Paddy Maloney on Uilleann pipes).
* The girl group Music/{{LOONA}} are doing this for their pre-debut phase. The first 8 members debuted in a solo video featuring one member during [[ADayInTheLimelight their month]], adding that member to the group roster. The remaining four members also debut on a monthly basis, just not necessarily in their particular month.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* Done with ''ComicStrip/USAcres''. Orson debuts first, then Roy, then Sheldon and Booker, then Wade, then Lanolin and Bo, then finally Cody and Blue. Interestingly, the latter four appear on the back cover of the first book, although the first strips with them aren't until the second book.

* The early Creator/GilbertAndSullivan opera ''Theatre/TheSorcerer'' spends most of its first act introducing us to all of the main characters, each of whom gets either an IAmSong or an IWantSong, in succession. Nothing plot-related actually happens until the Incantation scene, about ten minutes before intermission. (As the collaboration matured, later G&S shows became much more wily about mixing exposition with plot.)
* ''Theatre/AVeryPotterMusical'' has ''Going Back To Hogwarts'', which introduces Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Cho Chang, Cedric Diggory, Malfoy/Crabbe/Goyle, Dumbledore, and Snape over the course of the ten minute song.
* ''Theatre/{{Hamilton}}'' introduces all of the main characters in the opening number, ''Alexander Hamilton'', then goes back and introduces them more slowly over the course of the show: Aaron Burr, Lafayette, Laurens, and Mulligan in ''Aaron Burr, Sir'', Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy in ''The Schuyler Sisters'', King George III in ''You'll Be Back'', and George Washington in ''Right Hand Man''. Act II continues the trend by introducing Jefferson and Madison in ''What'd I Miss'' (although Madison was mentioned in ''Non Stop''), Philip Hamilton in ''Take A Break'' (although he was seen as a baby in ''Dear Theodosia''), and Maria Reynolds in ''Say No To This''.
* ''Fancy Dress'' introduces all the characters of the ShowWithinAShow ''Theatre/TheDrowsyChaperone'' (the Man in the Chair having already been introduced in the opening monologue). Even Trix, who says herself that [[PutOnABus she won't show up again]] [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall until the end of the show]], is present.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Multi-character games in general do this. ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' in particular ever since 4. You typically get half the cast or so in the first section of the game and then the rest are spread over the midgame.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' deserves special mention for essentially doing the Debut Queue ''twice'': once in the World of Balance, and again (in a different order) when [[PuttingTheBandBackTogether reassembling your scattered party]] in the World of Ruin. On top of that, it has the [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters largest cast in the main series (14 playable characters in all)]], so a fairly big portion of the game ends up being entirely dedicated to this trope.
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' goes so far as to have silhouettes of EVERYONE that will join the party just after the start of the game.
* So does ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire''.
** There is a slight aversion, however, in that, unlike KOTOR, you may not actually recruit every character shown on the silhouette screen. In fact, two of the characters, [[spoiler: Chai Ka and Ya Zhen]] are mutually exclusive after a certain point in the game. A third one, [[spoiler: Abbot Song]], is [[GuestStarPartyMember only available for a short time]], during which you don't have access to your other followers.
* Creator/BioWare loves this trope for their [=RPG=]s, because it pops up again in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. You can meet each of the playable characters in sequence. Depending on what order you choose for visiting certain areas, though, you can dodge this trope.
* The first stage of ''VideoGame/Sly3HonorAmongThieves'' occurs chronologically right before the ''final'' stage, showcasing (albeit in Sound Only mode) all of the new characters (well, new except for [[HeelFaceTurn two who were originally villains]]!) and their skills: everything in between explains how Sly assembled his A-Team, one stage at a time.
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosBrawl'' - The Subspace Emissary introduces all the characters like this, even flashing their names on the screen in a freeze frame as they appear.
* This is done in ''VideoGame/EliteBeatAgents'', and for the climactic final character, essentially everybody in the game (except for those in the fourth chapter) gathers together to help the EBA [[spoiler:fight against an army of aliens]].
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'', each new squadmate is met as [[PlayerCharacter Commander Shepard]] trucks down the main plot and runs into them. They all have a short bit of characterization showing their personality and/or badassery before they join up, with the exception of Kaidan Alenko, who is with you from the get-go.
** While ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' switches to AvengersAssemble, ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' returns to this formula, with a bit of PuttingTheBandBackTogether, as five of your six/[[DownloadableContent seven]] squadmates are either former party members or major [=NPCs=].
* In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIV'', you spend a chapter with each playable character (or a small team of them) other than the hero before you get to do anything significant with the hero. Then you get to collect their companions [[spoiler: in the exact reverse order that you played through their chapters (so you get Chapter 4's Meena and Maya first, and Chapter 1's Ragnar [=McRyan=] last]].
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'' games have a habit of giving you a new character or two... or [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters three or four...]] each chapter.
* The ''VideoGame/SakuraWars'' series does this every time. Even in the second game it introduces the two new characters in a chapter each.
* In ''VideoGame/BaldursGate II'' you gather Imoen, Minsc, Jaheira and Yoshimo all in the same dungeon, once at a time and all in a row.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' has the stage 5 bosses (typically the BattleButler of the BigBad) typically undergo DefeatMeansFriendship and join up as the third (or fourth) heroine in the next game, although they frequently drop out after a game or two, just because there seems to be an upper limit on the number of shot and bomb types that will be used per game.
* ''VideoGame/VandalHearts'' does this too. You start with Ash, Clint and Diego. You quickly meet an NPC ally and two villains, then gather four characters in three battles. Three more join in chapter 2, and two more in chapter 3 to round out the cast. Much the same happens in the sequel.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'': Begins by introducing Crono, Marle, and then Lucca. After that, Robo, Frog and Ayla join after a dungeon where they're a RequiredPartyMember. (Frog and Ayla have a dungeon each long before their recruitment, and another when they're about to join for real. [[spoiler:Magus]] will join you so long as you refuse to fight him).

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' starts out with Elliot and Tedd in the first strip and Sarah makes her first full appearance in the third strip. Grace first appears in the third storyline and Justin and Nanase in the eighth storyline. Susan debuts in the first storyline of the second arc and Ellen in the arc's fifth storyline rounding out the main cast at eight. Since then there have been several characters that could be considered at most as supporting characters but the number of main characters have stayed at eight.
* ''Webcomic/DarthsAndDroids'' has this for its first arc which adapts ''Film/ThePhantomMenace''. It started out with just Ben and Jim, as well as the GM. Sally first showed up in [[http://darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0017.html Strip 17]] after the two arrive on Naboo. Pete joined not long after in [[http://darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0046.html Strip 46]] during the escape from Naboo. Annie finally appeared in [[http://darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0070.html Strip 70]] shortly after the group land on Tattoine.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/{{ARCHON}}'''s first few parts are this, introducing one or two characters then taking the time to explore them before introducing another few.
* ''Webcomic/{{Sonichu}}'' takes the first few issues to introduce entire chunks of characters based on their CastHerd as seen in the introductions in Issue 0. Issue 0 introduced the [[TheProtagonist essential characters]], Issue 1 introduced Sonichu's EvilTwin, Issue 2 introduced the three SelfInsert Sonichus, [[WickedWitch Slaweel]], and [[SealedEvilInACan Count Graduon]] and Issue 3 introduced both the Chaotic Combo and Flame.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Most ''{{Transformers}}'' series does this. Heck, in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'', new cast members do, in fact, fall from the sky, generally in stasis pods. The upside of this is twofold: one, it makes [[MerchandiseDriven introducing new product]] go down smoother and easier; and two, if there's any race in the universe that knows [[EstablishingCharacterMoment how to make an entrance]], it's the Transformers.
** With ''Anime/TransformersArmada'', it was more that "reinforcements" for both sides were either late to the party or weren't summoned until later. Apparently Megatron thought he could handle things with three mediocre soldiers and Optimus with two.
* The {{Five Episode Pilot}}s of ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'' and ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'' revealed the main characters throughout the episodes. In each case, only the original main characters (Scrooge and his nephews, Chip and Dale) were featured in the very first episode, with the other characters appearing later on in the stories.
* The first five episodes of ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution'' are almost solely devoted to this, generally with both the X-Men and the rival Brotherhood recruiting a new member in each episode (mainly the Brotherhood, as we can see). In order: Nightcrawler and Toad in "Strategy X", Shadowcat and Avalanche in "X-Impulse", Rogue in "Rogue Recruit" (though she was mostly detached from the Brotherhood, and joined the X-Men in the seventh episode), Blob in "Mutant Crush" and Spyke and Quicksilver in "Speed and Spyke". This is averted with the new recruits in the second season, who are introduced all at once. Only Magma and Boom-Boom get any particular focus episodes.
* In the computer-animated show ''WesternAnimation/ShadowRaiders'', this is rather conspicuous. The main character and the plot-driving character are introduced in the first episode, along with a couple more important characters. Then, within the span of five episodes, you've seen everyone of note. If the character wasn't introduced in the first five episodes, they're cannon fodder.
* If you don't count the micro-episodes, which merely established several character arcs, ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' does this. Six episodes were spent gathering eight superheroes together to become the Avengers (and that's not counting Ms. Marvel and Vision, who join the team later on). Meanwhile, enemies of the heroes also gathered together, to become the Masters of Evil.
* The first five five-minute episodes of Egmont's stop-mo series ''Series/LittlePeople'' based on Fisher-Price toys, collected on the ''Friendship Collection'' DVD, introduce Eddie (and Freddie and Sarah Lynn), Maggie, Sonya Lee, and Farmer Jed respectively.
* The pilot episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' introduces Fry, Leela, Bender and Prof. Farnsworth. The remaining regulars - Hermes, Amy [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and Zoidberg]] - don't appear [[SecondEpisodeIntroduction until the second episode.]]
** Most of the major recurring characters are introduced over the course of the first season in episodes where they take center stage: Zapp, Kif, and Nibbler in episode 4; Mom and her sons in episode 6; Professor Wernstrom in episode 8; and the Omincronians in episode 12.