->"''How did I end up on an island where you can put the entire population inside a minivan?"''
-->--'''Mike Mazinsky''', ''WesternAnimation/MikeLuAndOg''

The Minimalist Cast happens when the only characters that appear at all onscreen are the main characters. No supporting characters, no extras, no guest stars.

There may be [[TheGhost ghost characters]], who never appear onscreen but still exist for the main characters. Or there may be a CompanionCube, especially if this state of affairs is expected to last an entire series.

This is rarely pulled off successfully in long running serial material. Even ''[[Series/GilligansIsland Gilligan's Island]]'' -- a show whose premise was ''designed'' for this -- got guest stars. But sometimes it can be made to work. Serials which ordinarily feature more characters may restrict themselves to a Minimalist Cast for a one-off BottleEpisode.

In non-serial material, it is more easily arranged, as then TheLawOfConservationOfDetail no longer fights ''against'' the RuleOfDrama or the FirstLawOfMetafictionalThermodynamics. Note that the limited number of characters in no way guarantees their immortality; a DwindlingParty in these situations can be very frightening.

The Minimalist Cast is the essence of monologue-plays. Compare with {{Minimalism}}. See also BeautifulVoid. You should choose carefully between this, and EconomyCast (similar but less logical). The inversion is LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters. By definition, any work with a Minimalist Cast is also one where TheMainCharactersDoEverything, but these two tropes are still mutually exclusive.

----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* ''LightNovel/{{Bakemonogatari}}'' only has about a dozen named characters. A few of them (such as Hitagi's father, or Koyomi's sisters) might seem less significant, but they only appear for actual significant interaction. Furthermore, there are no walk on extras at all (unless you count blurred and censored images in some flashbacks). In place of extras, they sometimes show [[FacelessMasses a sort of person-shaped cut-out]]. It gives an eerie sort of feeling, considering things take place in what should be crowded places, and gets particularly creepy when you realize that every character in [[EvolvingCredits Hajikuji's opening]] are [[FacelessMasses cloned extras]] of Hajikuji herself.
* The only people we ever see in ''Anime/AngelsEgg'' are [[NoNameGiven the little girl with the egg and the young warrior with the cross-shaped riffle.]] Apart from them and couple of ghostly fishermen who can't really be considered characters, the [[BeautifulVoid highly-detailed world the two live in is completely deserted.]]
* ''LightNovel/SeitokaiNoIchizon'' has around 12 named characters as well. The five main characters are usually tho only ones shown, though.
* The only real characters of the GirlsLove {{anime}} ''{{Kuttsukiboshi}}'' are Kiiko, Aya, and Aya's brother Kota. Background characters have very few lines and contributions to the story.
* ''Anime/HoukagoNoPleiades'', due to its short length, is completely focused on the five {{Magical Girl}}s, the [[RidiculouslyCuteCritter goofy bloboid]] "President," and Minato. Other students are seen a couple of times, but they stay in the background and don't interact with any of the main characters.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Comics]]
* 1980s comic strip ''{{Arnold}}'' (created by Kevin Mc Cormick) only featured three characters: the titular character, his friend Tommy, and their teacher Mr. Lester. In the end of the strip's run a fourth character, Arnold's baby brother, was seen, but that's it. All other characters shouted from off-screen.
* Most of the stories from The Fox and the Crow comic books in the '50s and '60s featured only the two {{Funny Animal}}s from the title. Even in the few ones where some other characters appeared, it was for only a few panels and always as non-recurring extras in incidental roles.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* For the most part, ''WebVideo/PotterPuppetPals'' has only Harry, Ron, Hermione, Snape, Dumbledore and Voldemort. And Neville, played brilliantly by a squash.
** When fans requested a puppet of Draco, the puppet Harry literally held a puppet version of Draco.
* Most of the ''Fanfic/SilentPonyvilleChronicles'' have this trope, with the first installment including only Pinkie and Twilight. Being based on ''Franchise/SilentHill'' (see below) will do that.
* The first act of ''FanFic/TouhouIbunshu'', ''Reinterpretation of Scarlet Devil'', only includes Reimu, Marisa, Rumia, Cirno, and the five Scarlet Mansion denizens, along with brief appearances of some fairies.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''Franchise/WallaceAndGromit'': ''WesternAnimation/AGrandDayOut'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheWrongTrousers'' each had a cast of only three, and only Wallace spoke.
** The later two shorts also skimp on the speaking parts (two and three, respectively), although the cast is a little larger.
* The DisneyPrincess franchise only composes of ten characters within said franchise (although with some exceptions, however). They originally wanted more than that, but then they learned the awful fate of 1985's ''Disney/TheBlackCauldron'' upon the franchise's debut. The villain franchise, on the other hand, consists of [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters every single animated Disney]] [[MyFriendsandZoidberg (and Pixar)]] villain to date.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''[[OneHundredAndTwentySevenHours 127 Hours]]'': There are a couple of people for short parts at the beginning, and a family of hikers at the very end. The rest of the film is entirely focused on Aron.
* ''{{Film/Alien}}'' only features only seven characters (possibly eleven depending on whether you count the cat, the computer, the alien, and the space jockey). The later films starting with ''Aliens'' used much larger casts.
* ''Film/TheThing1982'' is centered entirely around the twelve members of the Antarctic research team. The only other people who show up ''alive'' and in person are dead in the first ten minutes. Otherwise you just have a corpse and a few people who show up in video recordings.
* ''Film/TheBreakfastClub'' features the five kids in detention, the janitor and the principal (the kids' parents briefly appear at the beginning).
* ''Film/{{Gerry}}'' has Gerry and Gerry. Some other people are seen in the background but nobody else.
* ''Theatre/DinnerForOne'' has two characters.
* The film ''{{Film/Moon}}'' by Duncan Jones has a grand total of two main characters: Sam Bell and GERTY. There is technically Sam's wife, but she is only seen in pre-recorded messages and a short dream sequence. Similarly, any other characters involved only appear in recorded messages from Earth. Nonetheless, Sam and GERTY are the only people to appear in person until the end.
* ''{{Timecrimes}}''.
* The 1968 film ''Hell in the Pacific'' features an American pilot (Creator/LeeMarvin) and a Japanese navy captain (ToshiroMifune) marooned in a desert island during WorldWarII. They're the only characters in the film.
* The 2001 independent film ''Tape'', based on a stage play, features Ethan Hawke, [[Series/{{House}} Robert Sean Leonard]], UmaThurman and nobody else.
* ''Theatre/TheShapeOfThings'' was made from Creator/NeilLaBute's stage play of the same name. Like ''Tape'', the only characters to have speaking parts are the four characters of the play -- portrayed by the same cast too!
* ''{{The House of Yes}}'' features five characters. There is a brief shot of a restaurant where we see three or four extras and that's about as expanded as it gets.
* ''NightOfTheLivingDead''
* ''{{Buried}}'' is a good example: Ryan Reynolds is the only actor we see.
* Creator/AkiraKurosawa's ''{{Rashomon}}'' has eight actors. Nine if you include the horse.
* The 1972 film adaptation of ''Theatre/{{Sleuth}}'' has only six credited characters, of whom only three spend any significant amount of time onscreen. [[spoiler:And of those three, Inspector Doppler turns out to be one of the other two in disguise. The film credits try not to spoil the twist by claiming the Inspector is played by someone called "Alec Cawthorne".]] In his [[http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19720101/REVIEWS/201010323/1023 review]] of ''Sleuth'', Creator/RogerEbert [[spoiler:gets in on the joke, saying Cawthorne is "a veteran stage actor making his movie debut"]].
* After the opening shot, the rest of Alfred Hitchcock's ''{{Rope}}'' takes place inside one apartment. The only characters we meet are the apartment's residents, their maid, and their dinner guests, a total of nine people (and the movie begins with one of them getting murdered).
* ''[[TwelveAngryMen 12 Angry Men]]''. At the beginning, other people (such as the defendant and the judge) are briefly shown, but for the rest of the film, we only see the twelve jurors and the baliff.
* ''Film/IAmLegend''. Three humans. One dog. Millions of [[spoiler:[[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire... things]].]] Go. (Although with the Flashbacks, theres another 20 speaking parts and hundreds of extras.)
* TheHappinessCage has only seven characters excepting two brief scenes at the beginning and end. Unsurprisingly, it was based on a play, but the clastrophobia is also an effective part of its theme.
* ''Film/TheDisappearanceOfAliceCreed''. Two kidnappers. One girl. Have at it.
* ''Film/{{Exam}}''. Eight [[spoiler: quickly dwindling]] characters in a room, plus the silent and immobile guard and The Invigilator who only shows up twice.
* ''Film/{{Cube}}'': Only seven people. One of them appears only in the first scene and doesn't interact with the rest.
* ''{{Hard Candy}}''.
* Other people are about at the start and end of ''CastAway'', but for the majority of the film it's just Creator/TomHanks and [[CompanionCube a volleyball]]. The ball's name is Wilson, but he doesn't have any lines.
* The only characters in ''{{Zathura}}'' are the protagonists: Walter and Danny; Lisa, their older sister, their father (whose barely in it at all) and the astronaut.
* ''{{Lo}}'' has Justin, Jeez, April, and Lo. [[spoiler: so only three characters]]
* ''{{Film/Carnage}}'' by Creator/RomanPolanski features only four actors, with the exception of a few extras in the intro and epilogue, as well as a few voices heard over the phone.
* ''{{Film/Antichrist}}'''s plot involves only the principal couple, He and She, with their son dying early in the film and any other brief characters having their faces deliberately blurred.
* ''TheQuietEarth''. The name should give a hint.
* In ''Film/EdenLog'', the man and the botanist are the only two major characters.
* The first ''ParanormalActivity'' had only four onscreen characters, two of them only appearing in two scenes. Later films in the series had somewhat larger casts.
* ''AntarcticJournal'' has the six team members, and the woman back at home base. [[spoiler: Everyone else is either a corpse, a ghost, a hallucination, or all three.]]
* Ingmar Bergman's ''{{Film/Persona}}'' has only five actors [[spoiler:(and, depending on how you interpret the film, [[SplitPersonality possibly even fewer actual characters]])]], three of them only appearing briefly.
* All of the ''Film/{{Tremors}}'' movies feature relatively small casts, but the second in particular has only eight people on screen, and two of those only appear in the first few minutes.
* ''Film/{{Gravity}}'' stars Creator/SandraBullock and Creator/GeorgeClooney as two astronauts stranded in space. Another astronaut appears in the background in the opening, but he, like everybody else who isn't Bullock or Clooney, is a voice role.
* ''Film/AllIsLost'' stars Creator/RobertRedford as a sailor lost at sea. He is the only cast member.
* ''Film/{{Closetland}}'' has a cast of two, Madeline Stowe and AlanRickman, performing in a single interrogation room for all but the [[AmbiguousEnding final minute]].
* ''Film/TheNakedSpur'', a 1953 Western starring [[Creator/JimmyStewart James Stewart]], has only five speaking roles--Stewart as a bounty hunter, the criminal Stewart's chasing, the criminal's girlfriend, and two other men that the bounty hunter gets stuck with as partners.
* ''Film/KnifeInTheWater'', the film debut of Creator/RomanPolanski, has only three parts--the married couple going for a ride on their sailboat and the young hitchhiker they take with them.
* ''The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh'' has six credited actors, and for the most part only one of them, Aaron Poole, appears on screen (unless you count characters who are shown on a videotape within the movie). Everyone else is TheVoice, including the PosthumousCharacter of the title, who is only present through narration [[spoiler: until the very end]].
* ''Film/TheKillerShrews'': just the 5 inhabitants of the island and the 2 who came by boat.
* ''Film/{{Locke}}'': the title character, played by Creator/TomHardy, is the only person you see on screen. He speaks with a total of 11 other characters by phone, but mostly about five.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Creator/AgathaChristie's ''Literature/AndThenThereWereNone''. Ultimately, ten people are on an island in this house after being sent a letter, and one by one, they start to die off.
* ''TheManWhoFoldedHimself'' by David Gerrold -- the main cast is an indeterminate number between one and five, inclusive. However, all of them are future, past, or alternate-timeline versions of the protagonist. The scores of extras are ALSO future, past, or alternate-timeline versions of the protagonist. [[spoiler: Since even Uncle Jim is this, the only non-Dan character seems to be the lawyer at the beginning of the story who informs Dan that he's nearly broke.]]
* Creator/HarlanEllison's short story "Literature/IHaveNoMouthAndIMustScream" consists of only five characters, six including [[BigBad A.M]], [[spoiler: though it's reduced to two by the end of the story. One if you exclude A.M.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The German TV series ''Series/DerTatortreiniger'' rarely has more than two characters (counting the protagonist) per episode. Any other ones would usually be void of any lines or impact.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' did this way back in 1964 with a slightly surreal two-part serial [[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E3TheEdgeOfDestruction "The Edge of Destruction"]].
** When an episode was cut from the previous story and "The Mind Robber" was expanded from four to five episodes, its first episode became this. There was no budget (even by ''Doctor Who''[='=]s notoriously low standards) for additional cast, props, costumes or even sets. The only resources available was the standing TARDIS control room set, the 3 leads, the robots that would appear later on in the story and a large empty stage painted white. Surprisingly it worked.
** If the above implies that "and robots" doesn't disqualify an episode for this, then [[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E10TheGirlWhoWaited "The Girl Who Waited"]] counts as one of these. It features only the three main characters, some robots and [[TheVoice a disembodied voice-interface]]. The cast list is the shortest of any new-series ''Doctor Who'' episode.
** The Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry are the only characters on-screen in the first episode of [[Recap/DoctorWhoS12E2TheArkInSpace "The Ark in Space"]].
* Irish sitcom ''Dan and Becs'': two characters, whose total onscreen time together amounts to maybe one minute, out of two full seasons.
* ''Series/DegrassiJuniorHigh'' didn't really have extras, because everyone you see was a character who would get an episode of their own.
* ''Series/RedDwarf''
** "Marooned" principally takes place on a crashed spaceship, and focuses on Lister and Rimmer, with the rest of the main cast only appearing at the beginning and end.
** "Duct Soup" focuses entirely on the crew while inside Starbug.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* ''{{Lum and Abner}}'', although there was always the (very rare) exception.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* The play ''Two for the Seesaw'' has a cast no larger than the number in its title.
* The play ''The Fourposter'' features one married couple. No other characters appear. When it was adapted into the musical ''I Do! I Do!'', the cast of characters was not expanded into the typical musical comedy ensemble and chorus -- indeed, it was not expanded at all.
* The play ''Same Time Next Year'', is restricted to a single a courting couple.
* The Australian play ''Ruby Moon'' ''appears'' to have LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, [[spoiler:but then it turns out that the two main characters are the only ''real'' people there, the others all being figments of their imagination.]]
* Several Creator/DavidMamet plays, notably ''Theatre/SpeedThePlow'', ''Boston Marriage'', and ''Theatre/AmericanBuffalo''.
* Edward Albee's ''[[WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?]]'' has only four characters.
* ''TheGlassMenagerie'', which has just four characters.
* ''{{No Exit}}'' features four actors on one set, one of whom is a OneSceneWonder.
* ''{{Waiting for Godot}}'' has four main characters and one cameo.
* ''Theatre/MasterHaroldAndTheBoys'' manages to get by with exactly three actors, a restaurant, and a black man's ass.
* ''Theatre/DannyAndTheDeepBlueSea'' has only two characters, Danny and Roberta.
* ''Speaking in Tongues'' has nine characters, played by four actors across three acts, plus a few Ghosts. The film adaptation ''Lantana'' subverted this by turning a few of the Ghosts into more significant characters.
* ''TheMousetrap'', by dint of everybody being stuck in a snowstorm and the entire play taking place in a ''single room''.
* ''I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change'' has only four actors--two male, two female, just enough to hit all four VoiceTypes. It helps that the show does not have a plot as such and is instead a series of vignettes.
** ''SongsForANewWorld'' by Jason Robert Brown has the same cast and the same structure, though it's about moments of transformation rather than romance.
* ''Educating Rita'' features Frank and Rita as the only characters, although TheMovie adds more.
* ''Faith Healer'' by Brian Friel has one set and three characters, and there's never more than one character onstage at any given time.
* Patrick Süskind of ''Literature/{{Perfume}}'' fame has written ''Der Kontrabass'' (''The Double Bass''). One set, one character, one giant success on German theaters.
* Jason Robert Brown's ''TheLastFiveYears'' has two actors total. Even better, there's only a couple of songs when they're even on stage at the same time.
* Samuel Beckett's ''Krapps Last Tape'' has a cast of one, an old man listening back to a tape recording he made earlier.
* ''Vanities'' has a cast of just three women, although external characters are mentioned.
* ''The Dumb Waiter'''s only castmembers are the two hitmen.
* The play ''Golda's Balcony'' (on the life and time of Golda Meir) is an interesting inversion. The play is a one-woman show, with the actress using accents and mannerisms to portray over a dozen different people ranging from Golda's parents and husband to historical figures such as Henry Kissinger.
* Zigzagged by ''{{Theatre/Godspell}}''. Its smallest cast is 10 people, but parts can be chopped up and farmed out to support much larger ensembles. This is part of why it's popular for schools or community theatres.
* ''GreaterTuna'' has an interesting twist on this: while there are more than 20 characters, traditionally the play is performed with only 2 actors.
** Murder For Two works in a similar vein - One actor plays a detective, the other one plays about a dozen suspects and the victim. The detective's partner doesn't have an actor despite [[spoiler: being the murderer, and]] getting a verse of his own. Oh, by the way, the show's a musical. And there's no band. Both actors play the piano in center stage, in character, for the entire show.
* Most ReducedShakespeareCompany productions have only three actors to cover all the roles they're parodying.
* In ''Trouble in Tahiti'', the cast consists of one couple and a GreekChorus distant from the action. There are no other singing or speaking parts, though the presence of other characters is occasionally implied.
* ''NextToNormal'' has a cast of six: the family (mother, father, son, daughter), the daughter's boyfriend, and the mother's psychologist.
* ''TitleOfShow'' has two actors, two actresses, and the pianist.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Franchise/SilentHill'' is fond of this trope, most games containing a handful of characters amongst a lot of monsters. Isolation is a strong theme throughout the series.
** ''VideoGame/SilentHill1'' has five or six characters (depending on whether or not Cheryl's infrequent appearances qualify her as a character), one of whom [[spoiler:is DeadAllAlong]].
** ''VideoGame/SilentHill2'' has five characters, one of whom [[spoiler:is a hallucination]].
** ''VideoGame/SilentHill3'' has four characters total.
** ''VideoGame/SilentHill4'' has a surprisingly high number of eight, but four are dead soon after they're encountered and one is little more than a ContinuityNod.
** ''VideoGame/SilentHillDownpour'' has less than a dozen characters to populate a whole realistically sized city, with sprawling ghettos and subways, and the vast majority of those characters are enigmatic manifestations of the city. However, there are a few more characters in flashbacks, and lots of haunted houses with detailed histories and motivations behind their ghosts, so it feels like there are slightly more characters than are actually there.
* ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'' has two characters (one of them a HeroicMime, the other [[TheVoice a disembodied voice]]) and the CompanionCube, plus a few robotic {{Mooks}} and three briefly-appearing Personality Spheres. ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'' adds three more characters, two of whom [[PosthumousCharacter died decades ago]] and are only heard from recordings, and three more Spheres.
* ''Franchise/{{Kirby}}'' game characters are usually limited to [[TheHero Kirby]] (and his {{Palette Swap}}ped alter egos), as well as {{Well Intentioned Extremist}}s [[TheBigGuy King Dedede]] and [[TheLancer Meta Knight]], the MonsterOfTheWeek, and ''maybe'' a [[EnemyMine Waddle Dee]].
** [[FanNickname The]] [[VideoGame/KirbysDreamLand2 Dark]] [[VideoGame/KirbysDreamLand3 Matter]] [[VideoGame/Kirby64TheCrystalShards Trilogy]] expanded on this a bit with the introduction of Gooey and the Animal Friends. In fact, had the Animal Friends [[http://tcrf.net/Kirby_64#Unused_Graphics not been]] DummiedOut for [[VideoGame/Kirby64TheCrystalShards the last game]][[note]]Which got new characters itself, including Kirby's FairyCompanion LoveInterest Ribbon[[/note]], the Kirby series would be entering LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters territory. However, they've been PutOnABus for over a decade now.
** TheAnimeOfTheGame ''Anime/KirbyRightBackAtYa'' ran into this problem, so that explains why there's a lot of {{Canon Foreigner}}s there. ''VideoGame/KirbyMassAttack'' made them {{Canon Immigrant}}s.
* The ''{{Sonic The Hedgehog}}'' series started out as this until it eventually added LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters. Like the ''{{Kirby}}'' example above, this became an issue when the earlier [[{{The Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog}} animated]] [[{{Sonic SatAM}} shows]] were in development which made it necessary to add a lot of {{Canon Foreigner}}s to balance out this problem.
* ''VideoGame/PandorasTower'' only has three characters, Aeron, Elena, and Mavda. However, after eating Master Flesh, Elena has visions of a few {{Posthumous Character}}s, [[spoiler:one of whom turns out to be alive and becomes the BigBad.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheStanleyParable'' has just Stanley and the narrator, although two of the endings introduce a new character.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bastion}}'', unless you count the Ura who are human, and have a role in the plot, but don't have any lines or characters amongst them aside from Zulf and Zia.
* The only characters that appear ''at all'' in ''ShadowOfTheColossus'' are: Wander, Agro (who is a horse), Mono (who is dead), Dormin (who is a sealed demon or god), Emon, and Emon's three henchmen.
* The ''{{Myst}}'' franchise.
** The first game has a total of four characters: [[PlayerCharacter You,]] Sirrus, Achenar, and Atrus.
** ''Riven'' has [[PlayerCharacter You,]] Atrus, Catherine, Gehn, and a few unnamed Rivenese villagers and rebels.
** ''Exile'' has [[RuleOfThree You,]] Atrus, Catherine, Yeesha (as a baby), and Saavedro.
** ''Revelation'' has [[RunningGag You,]] Atrus, Yeesha, Catherine (though in voice only), Sirrus, Achenar, and the inhabitants of Serenia.
** ''Uru'' has [[OverlyLongGag You,]] Atrus (in voice only), Yeesha, Jeff Zandi, and the DRC ([[TheGhost who aren't present]]). Kadish may also count, [[spoiler:[[PosthumousCharacter but he's long dead.]]]]
** ''End of Ages'' has [[PlayerCharacter Dr. Watson,]] Yeesha, Esher, several Bahro, and Atrus.
* ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry 3'' featured only four characters. Bosses with speaking roles appear but they usually contribute little to the story aside of most of them becoming new weapons for Dante (and, in one case, Vergil). When it boils down to it the only characters appearing in the story with any relevance are Dante, Vergil, Lady, and Arkham[[spoiler:/Jester]].
* While ''VideoGame/AmnesiaTheDarkDescent'' has a rather sizable secondary cast [[TheVoice heard in audio flashbacks]] or [[TheGhost mentioned in the various documents]] lying around, the only people actually in the castle are Agrippa, Alexander, and [[PlayerCharacter Daniel.]] Not counting the Gatherers and the large pile of bodies in the basement, of course.
* VideoGame/DeadSpace starts several hours after an outbreak has swept through a mining colony, resulting in everyone on the planet and orbiting ship either dying horribly or becoming a monster. Not including the monsters and two RedShirts in the intro, only 6 characters appear: Isaac Clarke, Zach Hammond, Kendra Daniels, Dr. Mercer, Dr. Kyne, Nicole Brennan. [[spoiler:It's actually 5, as Nicole is a hallucination, and the number decreases until only Isaac is left.]]
* ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' and ''VideoGame/Left4Dead2'' mostly has the four survivors who are seen alive.
* ''VideoGame/SkyOdyssey'' only has one character that is ever seen on screen, and he [[HeroicMime doesn't say anything]]. There are also a few radio operators and pilots that appear in the background, but they number no more than 4 throughout the entire game. Even then there appearance is very brief and doesn't affect the story. If you count the narrator (who isn't seen outside mission briefings) that brings the character count up to 6. The rest of the game is set in the wilderness.
* Originally ''Videogame/{{Skullgirls}}'' only had 8 playable characters, ''Encore'' however added two more (Squigly and Big Band, respectively) and will have four more to be available as DLC (Eliza, Beowulf, Robo-Fortune, and Fukua) bringing the total of playable characters to 14.
* Like ''Bastion'' above, ''{{Transistor}}'' could also count. There are a collection of side characters, but [[PosthumousCharacter they've all been processed by the time you meet them]], and while some of them get lines post-processing, [[TheUnintelligible they're too garbled to understand]], leaving just Red, the Man in the Transistor and the four members of the Camerata. The only person who could be considered a (still-living) side character is the news reporter [[spoiler: who Red never meets, and who ends up serving as an on-going ApocalypticLog anyway.]]
* The only characters in the original {{Doom}} series are [[FanNickname Doomguy]] and the hoardes of demons that he fights.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/JunipersKnot'' has only two characters and no one else even appears on-screen. A third character is very vaguely described in the backstory, but not really fleshed out.
* ''{{VisualNovel/Narcissu}}'': The only characters of any importance are the protagonist and Setsumi. There's just one blurry shot of the protagonist in the whole game, and Setsumi only appears on-screen three times. No other characters are ever visible.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' may be the only work to successfully use both this trope and LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, as the central world revolves around twelve main characters, with a small number of recurring extras and minor characters, but there are also {{Alternate Universe}}s, "[[CompanionCube pseudocharacters]]", and [[ShowWithinAShow fictional TV shows and video games]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Webcomic/TheArtistIsDead! has exactly six characters. [[CaptainObvious Not counting]] [[PosthumousCharacter the Artist]].
* ''{{Furmentation}}'' rarely shows more than a few characters, some of whom have no knowledge of another's existence.
* ''CountYourSheep''. Only the five main characters appear. Even as they're talking to one of the few other characters to be mentioned, said character remains out of view. Occasionally a comic or two is from this character's point of view.
* ''Webcomic/DinosaurComics'', Though some characters "appear" offscreen. From time to time, we meet a head-only Franchise/{{Batman}} due to the creator's interest in the character.
* ''{{Fleep}}''. Our protagonist is a man in a phone booth. The only other characters are a woman two booths over (only shown for a single panel), and a handful of voices on the other end of the phone line.
* ''{{The Book of Biff}}'' takes this to its logical extreme. Not only is the Biff himself the only character to appear on-panel, the comic has ''no'' dialogue whatsoever, meaning that other characters are mentioned at best.
* ''Webcomic/GarfieldMinusGarfield'' removes every other character but Jon for an ultimately creepy and sad effect.
* ''{{Superego}}'' has only the ten characters who are trapped in an AbandonedHospital in the middle of an abyss.
* In ''Webcomic/CrouchingOstrichHiddenVulture'', if all the ninjas are taken as a single character, a grand total of three characters appear in the story.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Any old theatrical cartoon series, despite having dozens of available characters in their recurring cast, will mostly have just one or two main characters and at least one antagonist in any individual cartoon. The ''WesternAnimation/{{Wile E Coyote and the Road Runner}}'' cartoons are a good example of this: no character other than Wile E. and the Road Runner appear. Sometimes the series character will be the only one on screen, such as many of the early ''PinkPanther'' shorts, or the Goofy "How-To" cartoons, where even the ones with team sports will have Goofy as every player.
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy''. Throughout the show's entire 5 seasons, the cast of characters never expanded beyond twelve people. No background characters or adults ever appeared, and even when a school was added to the setting in later seasons, no additional kids appeared, and all 12 kids were all in the same class. There were a number of ''slight'' exceptions, such as SantaClaus in the Christmas special, Ed's NotSoImaginaryFriend, small body parts of adults appearing in a few episodes, and ''very'' vague FacelessMasses, but the rule was finally, truly broken for the first and only time in the GrandFinale movie, where [[spoiler:we actually get to meet Eddy's much-vaunted older brother]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBackyardigans'': We only see the five young FunnyAnimal friends.
* ''MuppetBabies''. Even in their imaginations, there are rarely any additional characters.
* In the second season of the ''{{Redwall}}'' cartoon (based on the novel ''Mattimeo''), the show migrates towards this. Slagar the Cruel captures most of the Abbey's young ones and adds them to his band of slaves, but midway through the season, he inexplicably only has the main characters in chains. Nowhere along the line does he sell any slaves; they're just gone.
* The original ''FiremanSam'' had a cast of ten main characters. One wonders how they make a living in Pontypandy.
* Almost every short on ''WesternAnimation/{{KaBlam}}!''
* ''{{Kaeloo}}'' is a particularly serious offender, having only four characters. While it could be argued that the seemingly sentient plants and the random sheep that pops up every now and then might count, they're still little more than props in terms of how they're used.
* "The Farnsworth Parabox" episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' was designed as this, featuring only the Planet Express crew and their alternate counterparts as characters. This was in contrast to ''The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings'', in which the animators tried to fit in [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters every character who had appeared in the series]], as it was suspected that it would be the series finale.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBremenAvenueExperience'' is a series of shorts about a FunnyAnimal GarageBand. Most of the shorts feature only the four bandmates; the only guest star is the father of one of the band members.
* The ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic]]'' episode "Party of One" only has the mane 6, Pinkie's pet alligator Gummy, Spike and Mrs. Cake, and the last two are only in one scene each, leaving only 7 characters in this episode. Not even any background ponies showed up.
** The BottleEpisode "Look Before You Sleep", aside from a handful of background ponies in the opening seconds, only contains three of the main cast.
** "Feeling Pinkie Keen" has Pinkie Pie, Twilight, Applejack, Fluttershy, Spike, a few background ponies and frogs, [[spoiler: and a giant hydra at the end.]]
** "Stare Master" has Fluttershy, Twilight, Rarity, and the three Cutie Mark Crusaders, along with some chickens and a cockatrice.
** "Baby Cakes" mostly only has Pinkie and the Cake twins, along with brief appearances by Mr and Mrs Cake and the rest of the mane six.
* The 2009 reboot of ''WesternAnimation/StrawberryShortcake''.
* In ''WesternAnimation/JellyJamm'', there appears to be only seven people ON THE ENTIRE PLANET.
* ''WesternAnimation/ZigAndSharko'' has a grand total of four characters.
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' has multiple episodes where Jack is almost alone throughout its entirety, such as "Jack and the Monks".
* The typical ''WesternAnimation/RubyGloom'' episode only features characters seen in the intro. Exceptions tend to become recurring characters in their own right or are related to Misery.
* ''WesternAnimation/MikeLuAndOg'' has a grand total of seven human characters living on the island, plus a few animals. The cast was slightly expanded in the second season with the Cuzzlewitz kids. However, a number of one-shot characters visited the island in a few episodes.
* The only reason why ''WesternAnimation/{{Grojband}}'' has a cast of too few characters is mainly because of Mina being Trina's slave, however there are a few one-shot characters, but that's about it.
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