Introducing a new character who is then inexplicably ignored for a few episodes. Often the result of a clumsy Debut Queue
Alternatively, a common use of Lampshade Hanging
to explain why a cast member useful to the plot isn't around. This can be to exclude a character who would make a plot end too early or because the writers want to focus on specific characters.
Poorly used, this will introduce a character who is used for a single arc and then forgotten for long periods of time. The kind of writer prone to this is also liable to keep doing it
The trope is named after the "Green Room," a backstage area in a theatre where actors who are not required on stage can wait and prepare, the idea being that the ignored characters are just hanging out there. Not to be confused
with shows shot in a green room
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Anime & Manga
- A skillful usage of this technique is in Love Hina, where Motoko (along with her "groupies") is introduced in the first minutes of the first episode, but she immediately leaves on a training excursion, thus freeing up screen time for introductions of the other characters before she gets her turn to take center stage in the third episode. Shinobu is also seen in the first episode, but not really introduced until the second.
- In Kämpfer, Mikoto is seen in the first few episodes via postcards to her childhood friend Natsuru. She's seen again at the end of episode 5, but Mikoto doesn't see Natsuru till episode 6. She remains part of the cast after she returns home.
- In season 3 of the anime adaptation for The World God Only Knows, Kanon, or rather her goddess Apollo, is taken out of commission right away in the first episode, and ends up causing Keima to undertake the conquest of the goddesses after witnessing Lune stabbing her. She doesn't appear again until around episode 8, and even then just as a brief cameo to let Keima know she's still doing okay for the most part. This conveniently allows other girls and goddesses to have more screentime with him, some whom he conquered in earlier seasons, and some who only appeared in brief scenes due to the anime skipping many chapters in the manga between season 2 and 3.
- In Anpanman, thanks to the large amount of characters in the series, a character can end up getting their own spotlight episode and then disappear from the series. Many characters from the early years of the show has had this happen to them, and the movie- and theatrical short-introduced characters end up having the same fate, the newer ones never being transferred into the show.
- The Power of Five starts off with Matt, who then vanishes after book 2, gets a brief mention in book 3, and then is gone for the first half of book 4.
- In Doctor Who, Robot Buddy K-9 is introduced in "The Invisible Enemy", then promptly breaks down for the duration of "The Image of the Fendahl", whose script was written before K-9 was added to the cast.
- Happened quite a bit in Code Name: Eternity due to the episodes being aired out of order. The two main characters meet a sidekick early in the season, followed by a replacement sidekick in what should have been about halfway through the season; but instead, the sidekicks seem to appear and disappear at random.
- In RWBY, Roman Torchwick appeared as a villain in the first episode proper, and wasn't seen again until The Stinger at the end of episode eight, where he comments that he's going to need more men. Similarly, Adam hasn't been seen at all since the Black trailer, nor have Junior or the Malachite twins been seen since the Yellow trailer. Given how later episodes in the former case and Word Of God in both is that the trailers are canon, it can leave one wondering when those three will reappear.
- G.I. Joe had a habit of doing this, with its ridiculously large number of characters and all.
- Transformers suffered from the same thing, some characters only appeared for one episode!
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has several examples, considering it has loads and loads of characters. Most prominently:
- In the first episode of the reworked Justice League Unlimited, Green Arrow and Black Canary. Particularly, much is made of the League's interest in recruiting Green Arrow and how important he is, only to have him not show up again for thirteen episodes.
- Regular Show: Thomas was shunned to the green room having only appeared with a speaking role in the three episodes that introduce him at the start of season four. He made his re-appearance late on in season four though, twenty-four episodes later.