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Last Episode New Character
While most characters are introduced at the beginning of the series or the beginning of an arc, sometimes somebody doesn't get to show up until the end of the last episode; they may not even get to speak. This can be a not-so-subtle way for the team creating a series to ask for another season: obviously, the fans will want this character to actually be in some episodes. Or it could be done when the team knows that another season is planned, and they will be able to incorporate this character in the new season. Occasionally, it'll be a character from another medium that the writers weren't able to otherwise fit in.

If a sequel is not planned, the new character may provide a sort of living closure via Passing the Torch.

Compare with God-Created Canon Foreigner, Eleventh Hour Ranger, Early-Bird Cameo under Continuity Cameo.

Examples

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Bontenmaru in Samurai Deeper Kyo, who gets no dialogue, despite being a major character in the manga.
  • Maiho in Maburaho, who gets one speaking line.
  • In the last episode of Mazinger Z (and in the Mazinger vs Great General of Darkness movie), Kouji Kabuto and his friends were defeated, Mazinger-Z completely destroyed, and their base demolished. Before Kouji gets killed, though, showed up Tetsuya Tsurugi riding the newer and most powerful Great Mazinger, and easily defeated the new enemy. We were introduced to new characters, enemies and locations would star in the sequel, Great Mazinger.
  • While the goddess Rind appears surprisingly early in the story, Urd's mother Hild only appears in the last episode credits of Ah! My Goddess. (She does get a larger role in the second season of the TV series, though.)
  • Ogiue is introduced at the end of the ending animation sequence of the last episode of Genshiken, and (obviously) has no lines; she then shows up in the OVA.
  • In Mai Hi ME Arika is literally the very last character visible on screen in the final episode, although she never says anything and plays no part in the action. She then appears in Mai-Otome as its lead. (Sunrise also created a fake "movie trailer" for Mai-HiME that had her being a villain and taking over the school.)
  • Subversion: Before airing, it was highly expected that Slayers Try would make use of Lina Inverse's mysterious sister, Luna. Once it aired, she merely made an appearance in the opening, with an accompanying humorous apology note to the fans. Click Here for image.
  • In the horrible sequel to Dangaioh, Great Dangaioh, in the last five or so minutes of the final episode, an entirely new hero in an entirely new robot shows up to save the day, while telling the current heroes that they aren't needed any more. While he did appear very briefly in earlier episodes, he only had one, maybe two lines (of no more than ten words total) and was always wearing a long coat and sunglasses before he made his true appearance.
    • All of this possibly being a reference to Mazinger Z.
  • In the ending montage to Rozen Maiden: Träumend, a new character appears who may or may not be the resurrected version of another character; likely, it's actually the as yet unseen one that she had been impersonating.
  • Due to time constraints, the Toei version of Kanon stuffed Mishio's entire story into the last episode of Makoto's arc, with no previous explanation.
  • A strange example occurred in Love Hina, where Naru and Kaolla's siblings appear in the television series but not the manga. However, Naru's sister was given a cameo in the final pages of the manga.
    • The original Love Hina manga also ended with an epilogue that that introduced a brand new character, who was actually the main character of the two chapter story.
  • Pan, Uub and Bra in Dragon Ball Z, though Pan becomes a regular character in the anime-only sequel Dragon Ball GT. Uub goes from "Goku's hand-picked student" to "Overshadowed by Awesome" entirely off-screen, and Bra is basically a Living Prop who only really exists to affirm that Bulma and Vegeta (her parents) are still together, and whose Crowning Moment Of Awesome was making Daddy Vegeta lose that awful mustache.
  • Borderline example is the manga-only Konatsu of Ranma ˝ who had a full introduction arc, but only appeared again in a single chapter story and a cameo at the end which together weren't even half as long.
    • The last story arc introduced not just the Mt. Phoenix tribe (who, like the Musk Dynasty, work just as well as one-shot enemies,) but also the Jusenkyo Guide's daughter, Plum, an adventurous and smart little girl (smarter even than the teens and adults) who never really got much screentime.
    • The animated version did this by introducing Ranma's mother, Nodoka, as the final, two-episode story in the TV series.
  • The manga version of Tokyo Mew Mew ends with a never-before-seen girl (later identified as Shirayuki Berii) looking through the window at the party inside the Cafe Mew Mew.
  • In the anime adaptation of Amatsuki, Kanzou appears for the first time in the ending credits. However, the identity of this mysterious man is hardly the only question viewers are left with after watching the last episode.
  • In Penguin Musume Heart, the very last shot shows a girl who is perhaps Sakura's sister, looking just like her and also going by the same name, but acting a lot more dignified.
  • Reinforce Zwei of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, whose first appearance in the frachise was in the Distant Finale of the second season.
  • Konomi Yuzuhara's (from To Heart 2) appearance in the sixth Omake of To Heart:Remember My Memories may count as this.
  • Tateo Mochizuki makes a cameo at the end of Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, after the arc he appeared in was cut from the show.
  • Hikaru Sakuraba only appeared in the last episode of the Lucky Star she featured more prominently in the manga though.
  • Maria†Holic has Enjouji, the hot swimming instructor. Kanako lampshades this. Later subverted, when it's revealed that she's entirely in Kanako's dream.
  • Tsukiyo Ooba from Sketchbook has some inconspicuous cameo appearances throughout the series, but only gets a few lines in the last episode, which gets lampshaded by her vocal complaints about this treatment. There is also a glimpse of Soyogi-sensei, who doesn't get a speaking part whatsoever.
  • In the manga version of ARIA, Ai.
  • WORKING!! has Maya, the glasses-wearing girl who had been in shots sprinkled through the entire show, introduced and finally speak in the final episode. This also happens in the manga to a certain extent, since she's only properly introduced in Volume 5.
    • This occurs in the second season as well.
  • Several Pokémon from later generations will often tend to appear toward the end of certain story arc of the Pokémon anime, with the sole exception being Ho-oh, which appeared at the end of the show's first episode!
    • Giovanni's secretary appears in the final episode of Diamond and Pearl. She becomes a recurring character in Best Wishes, when Team Rocket gains more importance.
  • In the last chapter of the Death Note manga, a new guy named Yamamoto is shown to have joined the National Police Agency.
  • The second Durarara!! OVA, the last part of the season, introduces Mairu and Kururi Orihara, who feature in the Light Novels not adapted by the anime.
  • Shiage Hamazura in A Certain Magical Index II, which would be an Early-Bird Cameo, except he was actually introduced in that arc in the novel. This, presumably, is a tease for a third season of Index.
    • While it's technically the second to last episode, Aqua of the Back and Terra of the Left (voice only) also count.
    • At the end of season 1 Laura Stuart appears.
  • Tiger & Bunny has an in-series example. Barnaby decides to make his debut in the last episode of HeroTV's most recent season (in episode 1 of the actual anime) as a way of making a stellar impression on the in-show audience.
  • In the last episode of the anime version of Giant Killing there are lots of group shots. A couple of players who've never been seen before are in the crowd, acting like they've always been there. And logically they should have been seen, when the whole team was shown training. Of course, the original manga was months ahead with the story, by the time that last episode was made.
  • Right before the end credits of the last episode of the anime version of Kemeko Deluxe! we see Kamishiro Yukina, miko and nanoball prototype, who appears in the manga a couple of chapters after the last anime episode.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE introduces a new villain in the very last episode of entire series: Zera Gins, a clone of Lord Ezelcant who provides the final fight for Kio Asuno.
  • Ura Sakaki, Tamaki's major rival in the Bamboo Blade manga, only appears in the last few seconds of the anime as sort of a Sequel Hook (there is no second season, by the way.)
  • Tsuritama has one in the form of Urara, the very same fish alien... person... who terrorized all of Enoshima for the last few episodes.
  • In Saki Zenkoku-hen, Usuzan High School, one of Kiyosumi's opponents in the semifinals, is introduced after the quarterfinals that comprised most of the series have finished. The same episode also introduces a so far unnamed girl who is implied to play a large role in Saki and Teru's backstory.
  • The last chapter of Gunslinger Girl revolves around a character introduced in that chapter: Triela's daughter.

     Comic Books  

  • The final issue of the DCU version of The Web introduced Fly Girl and War Eagle, who were part of The Mighty Crusaders in their mini series!
  • The final issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight introduces a new character: a young villain with round sunglasses which some speculate to be Ripper, Giles' persona during his rebellious youth. Of course Season Nine followed soon after.
  • The final issue of Flashpoint introduces Pandora who eventually gets her own title nearly two years later.
  • The final issue of Supreme Power introduces Shape, Inertia, and Emil Burbank, who would all become regular characters in the subsequent Squadron Supreme series.

     Fan Fiction 
  • In Necessary To Win, Oarai's new Student Council is introduced in the last chapter

     Literature  

  • In Book 40 of The Railway Series (which, then, was Christopher Awdry's final book) the final story features a new engine, who is named "Ivo Hugh" on the last page. Unfortunately, the publishers scuppered the plans to publish any more Railway Series books until recently, meaning that Ivo Hugh hasn't had his personality developed.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, Dovepaw and Ivypaw are born at the ending of Sunrise (the last book in the third series), with Jayfeather realizing that one of them is the third cat in the prophecy. Both of them are main characters in the fourth series.
  • The last book of The Mortal Instruments introduces Emma Carstairs, hero of the upcoming sequel trilogy, The Dark Artifices.
  • Professor Moriarty, supposed to be THE nemesis for Sherlock Holmes is introduced only in The Final Problem, originally written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the definitive series ending. Holmes got better, though.
  • Not quite the "last episode", but for The Wheel of Time, Berelain sur Paendrag Paeron only came into the story at the end of the third book, after the completion of the "Callandor retrieval" quest and the proclamation of the true [[TheChosenOne Dragon Reborn, not to mention the defeat of his then-Arch-Enemy "Ba'alzamon" for a long time. Her arrival was at the start of an entirely new phase of the saga, namely bringing the various nations of the Westlands into some kind of cohesion for that Age's version of The War to End All Wars.
  • Animorphs does this with The One, the mysterious entity that absorbs Ax and leads the others to the Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Several characters who were born during the nineteen-year Time Skip between the climax and the epilogue.
  • Dying of the Light has Kirak Redsteel. A poet unconnected to any of the main players, he is oft-mentioned but never seen until the last chapter when a white-bearded old man strolls up to muse on some long dead Old Kavalar poetry. And he's even nice enough to arrange duels.

     Film  

     Live Action TV  
  • Little House on the Prairie: The final two episodes of Season 9 introduced two new characters that were possibly intended to become regulars, with the hopes the show would have been renewed for a 10th season. Alas, that wasn't the case, and aside from appearances in the three follow-up movies (which comprised the unofficial "10th season"), there was virtually no time to flesh out and truly develop their characters. Those characters, by the way, were:
    • Rachel Brown, who marries Willie Olesen in the second-to-last original episode, "May I Have This Dance." Had the series been renewed, their stories would have revolved around her learning to get along with her mother-in-law (the dastardly Mrs. Olesen) and becoming part of the town. A "newlywed" story was dedicated to her and Willie in the finale, "Hello and Goodbye" (which aired the following week), but from there her appearances were fairly limited in the follow-up movies, as more time was spent on Albert and Charles (in the two non-Christmas movies), and on Laura and Almonzo (in the holiday flick).
    • Sherwood Montague, the eccentric Englishman who settles in Walnut Grove in the final 60-minute episode, "Hello and Goodbye." Undoubtedly, his plots would have involved the clashes of culture and adjusting to life in small-town Minnesota. His time is limited in "The Last Farewell," although he does make a sizable appearance in "Bless All the Dear Children" (a plot centering on his cynical attitude toward Christmas softening, thanks to little Jason Carter).
  • Smallville: With its constant rumours of being cancelled, it has a lot of these. Covenant, last episode of season three, had Kara Zor-El who turned out to be a fake. Commencement (season 4) had Brainiac in the form of a black ship. Vessel (season 5) had General Zod. Phantom (season 6) had Bizarro. Doomsday (season 8) had Major Zod (long story). Prophecy (second to last episode of entire series) had several evil extras who do absolutely nothing just like Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: Solomon Grundy, Captain Cold, Black Manta.
  • Nova Ranger shows up halfway through the final episode of Power Rangers S.P.D., apparently because they remembered at the last minute that they had a spare costume left over from Dekaranger.
  • In 24, the character of Morris (Chloe O'Brien's ex-husband) is introduced in the Episode 23 of Season 5.
  • Several of the Doctor's regenerations in Doctor Who take place at the end of a series. This has happened to the Third, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Doctors. (The Second Doctor is sentenced to forced regeneration at the end of season 6, but we don't see the Third Doctor until the beginning of the following season in 1970) Although the new Doctor is technically the same individual, in terms of personality and actor he's fundamentally a new character.
  • Ryan on Joan of Arcadia, who would have played a big role in the third season, had there been one.
  • On Angel, Gunn, Fred, and Connor were introduced in the last three to four episodes of the season before the one in which they were bumped to main character.
  • During the final episode of the Metal Heroes series Space Sheriff Gavan, the baddies are ganging up on Gavan and are about to win when a new Sheriff suddenly pops up to even the score. He turns out to be Sharivan, the new hero of the upcoming sequel show Space Sheriff Sharivan, which would start airing the next week. Also, surprisingly, he would turn out to be a character that had been featured before. A previous victim of the day who had been sent to the Sheriff planet for treatment several eps before and forgotten about.
  • On LOST, Ana Lucia had a flashback cameo in the first season finale before returning in the second episode of the second season as a regular.
    • Jacob's appearance at the end of Season 5 also qualifies. Lost actually does this a lot during season finales, even with locations and situations rather than people, in part due to the disjointed order of the narrative.
  • The last two episodes of Season 1 of Desperate Housewives gave a glimpse of the Token Minority Applewhite family moving in, implying that they'd get more focus in Season 2 (sort of happened) and perhaps become permanent members of the cast (definitely didn't happen).
  • Kamen Rider Kiva: Wataru's son comes to interupt Nago and Megumi's wedding to warn them of the Neo-Fangire. Four Riders and three Monsters Kick ensue!
  • Molly Evans, aka Trudy's daughter in Monk.
  • In The Prisoner, two entirely new characters were introduced in the last episode to make the already Gainax Ending even more of a Mind Screw. They were played, however, by actors who'd already appeared on the show (in wildly different roles, and pretty much unrecognisably).
  • Bobby Singer was only introduced in the final episode of Supernatural season one, and proceeded to stick around forever.
  • Stargate SG-1's Jonas Quinn showed up in the last episode of season 5 and became a main character next season.
  • Teased, but ultimately averted (because Real Life Writes the Plot) in That '70s Show. Charly was introduced towards the end of the seventh season as a future Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Eric, but as the actor had landed another role before the season eight premiered, his character was unceremoniously killed off and was only seen in flashbacks in the season 8 premiere episode.
  • In Charmed, Chris was introduced in the final two-parter of the season five. He was a regular character during season six.
  • True Blood has done this in every season; in the last couple of episodes new characters and tiny bits of new storylines are introduced, this is of course a Cliff Hanger in disguise as they know another season is coming. This often leads to rage from fans because, well, Waiting Sucks.
  • Percival was introduced in the last episode of season three of Merlin.
    • And season four does it again, introducing Tristan and Isolde in the first part of the season finale. Tristan survives, but Isolde is killed in the second part's battle.
  • Zaf was introduced in the last episode of season three of Spooks and became a regular for the fourth series.
  • The third season finale of Holby City introduced the new ward sister, Chrissie Williams. She has been on the show more or less continuously ever since, making her the show's longest serving character.
  • The final episode of Ultraman introduced Zoffy, Ultraman's superior officer from Nebula M78. Zoffy goes on to become a key recurring character in subsequent Ultra shows and movies.
  • Mike gets introduced in the last episode of Breaking Bad's second season and becomes a regular in the next season.
  • Gossip Girl: Ivy Dickens was introduced as a guest character late in the show's fourth season and her true identity wasn't revealed until the final episode of the season. She would return as a regular the next season thanks to the departures of two other cast members.
  • The season two finale of The Neighbors introduces a new human family that moves into the neighborhood after all the Zabvronians except the Bird-Joyner Kershees have left, hinting at a change of format for the show. Unfortunately, the show wasn't picked up for a third season.

     Video Games  

  • Although calling it the last "episode" is not quite accurate, in Super Smash Bros.. Brawl's: story mode, The Subspace Emissary, Sonic makes his first appearance at the last possible second, showing up in the cutscene immediately preceding the final boss.
  • While he's briefly mentioned early on, King Mickey Mouse never actually turns up until the ending sequence of the first Kingdom Hearts. Also, Roxas's first appearances were in The Stingers for Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. A similar thing happened with many of the new Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep characters, first appearing in The Stinger for Kingdom Hearts II.
  • The iOS Games port of The World Ends with You adds an extra image after the credits showing a completely new character. Given that part of the game's staff worked on the aforementioned Kingdom Hearts, many think the new character will pop up in a sequel.
  • Jade Empire: Death's Hand can be recruited 5/6 of the way through the game if you are a Magnificent Bastard.
  • Super Mario World has a... pretty active Rom Hack community. With this said, one of them, "The Essence Star", near-unanimously considered to be one of the best, has been slightly criticized by one reviewer because it's a bit "anime-like". By "anime-like", the reviewer meant there are too many characters appearing late in the game... indirectly referencing this very trope.
  • Brave Young Layna shows up in Soul Nomad & the World Eaters for only a few maps (storyline ones at least, not counting the random dungeons) when Revya and co. arrive in Drazil.
  • In Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword, the final character available doesn't appear until the final chapter.
    • In Radiant Dawn you get the Game Breaker Laguz Royals for the last part of the game and if you fulfil the requirements, you can get Sephiran for the final battle.
    • In Shadow Dragon, the final character available either joins in the last chapter or, if you fulfill certain conditions, the secret level right before it. (If the latter joins you, the former does not appear.)
  • In Mass Effect 3, The Catalyst plays this role, much to the irritation of the fanbase.
  • Int the original Metal Gear Solid, Jim Houseman, the Secretary of Defense and the person who authorized Solid Snake's mission, only appears during a CODEC call prior to the game's final boss fight with Liquid Snake.

     Web Original 

  • The Most Popular Girls in School: A mysterious new character named Jenna is introduced in the final scene of the second season finale. Intended to be the villain of the third season.

     Western Animation  

  • In Transformers: Beast Wars, Tigerhawk shows up in the episode before the two-part series finale. He doesn't make it to the sequel series, Beast Machines, having died going toe-to-toe with a warship. He might not really count given his being a fusion of Tigatron and Airrazor though. Similarly, the Constructicons first appeared in the final episode of the first season of The Transformers.
    • There's also the multitude of new characters appearing in the three-part series finale of The Transformers. Of course, it turns out that it was going to be the premiere of a fourth season, but reworked into a series finale when the plug was pulled on the show at the last second.
    • Transformers Prime has Darksteel and Skylynx, two Predacons created just before the finale.
  • Cooper from Ben 10. Presumably didn't have a greater role than one guest appearance in the sequel series because he was generally disliked by the fandom.
    • Since "Secret of the Omnitrix" is technically the real Grand Finale, Azmuth also qualifies.
    • The final episodes of Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien introduced Ultimate Swampfire and Ultimate Way Big. Ultimate Alien plays this straight, as Ben receives a new Omnitrix at the end of the episode that (According to Word of God) does not possess the evolution function, meaning Ultimate Way Big will never be seen again.
  • In Chowder, there is his apprentice, Scraps.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy, Eddy's brother shows up in the climax of The Movie. Up until then, he was only mentioned by other characters.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold's finale features Ambush Bug as the guest hero, despite him never having appeared in the show before.
  • Averted in the finale of the Nickelodeon run of Doug. While the main character spends most of the episode trying to finally see what his principal, Mr. Butsavage, looks like, by the end of the episode, he barely misses seeing the principal give a speech, but stops worrying about it and finally starts celebrating the fact that he's graduating.
  • Young Justice was Screwed by the Network and Left Hanging, which is why the series ends with the appearance of Darkseid.

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