When First Girl Wins is not in effect, the most likely girl to win the heart of the male protagonist at the end of a harem anime is the last girl we meet in the series.
In harem series, it's usually the first
potential love interest
you see that wins the heart of the Unlucky Everydude
. This is for a simple reason: she makes a strong impression this way, and we aren't blindsided.
But there's another placement that makes sense and gives a girl a strong impression: if she's the last
potential love interest we see. This makes perfect sense if the series is focused on the main character seeking a long term relationship, since once he's found one he's going to stop looking.
It is recommended that, if this rule is in effect, the entire Unwanted Harem
appear in the first episode for the sake of the poor writers' health
. A Third-Option Love Interest can
win — even a girl who we meet near the end of the very last episode can win — but Die for Our Ship
will inevitably descend upon her. That's okay for the series in question (since it's over), but it could cause problems for the sequel.
Has nothing to do with the Final Girl
(a horror trope concerning the last girl to survive
, of course.
- From a chronological viewpoint, the Ranma/Akane relationship in Ranma ˝ could be seen this, as Akane is the very last of his unwanted brides that he meets; he met Ukyo as a 6 year old, Shampoo several weeks or months ago, and Akane just when the series starts. Looking at just the events of the series, though, it's a case of First Girl Wins.
- The 2006 version of Kanon moved Ayu's first prologue until later and had Shiori, Mai and Makoto appear to Yuuichi beforehand, unlike the 2001 version. Yes, this makes Kanon both an example of First Girl Wins and Last Girl Wins.
- Feena in Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na is the last possible love interest to appear, save for the Token Mini-Moe.
- Because of the Anachronic Order of Suzumiya Haruhi, both the protagonist's stated Love Interest and his She Is Not My Girlfriend, the two girls that one would consider most in the running, could be considered both the first and the last. If Yuki or Sasaki ends up winning in the end, then, well...
- Sasaki is a debatable example, considering that the protagonist knew Sasaki even before he met Haruhi or Mikuru in high school. Still, she shows up after any of the others.
- Viciously subverted in Code Geass R2. first girl (sorta) Shirley was shot to death by potential Last Guy Rolo... and Rolo ultimately died too. And in the end, so does Lelouch. Talk about a subversion!
- Apparently, Kallen was the Last Girl to have romantic developments with a certain siscon.
- If you choose to interpret it a certain way, Lelouch calls Euphie his "First Love" right before he shoots her. Meanwhile, first guy Suzaku kills Lelouch while first girl Nunnally looks on in horror. Also, first girl (who's not a guy or a relative) Milly gives up on him. Really, the Last Guy and Girl seemed to have the best shot before dying, only to have Lelouch join them.
- Nia is the last main female character to appear in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Guess who Simon ends up married to by the end of the series. And considering Kamina's Decoy Protagonist status, this is a rare case where both the first girl (Yoko for Kamina) and the last girl (Nia for Simon) win.
- In Pokémon Special, Yellow is the last girl Red meets on his first journey and ends up having the most Ship Tease with him throughout the series. Funny enough, there's nothing to hint that Red actually realizes that the same girl he rescued and Yellow are the same person.
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion Asuka is the last person we see Shinji with in End of Evangelion, and she is the last female character he meets in the show. She wins Shinji's heart in the end as the entirety of End Of Evangelion which in addition to being about the Third Impact was dedicated to Shinji and Asuka's relationship. Shinji's hand party in the beginning of End Of Evangelion indicates his feelings for her and Asuka's dialogue during Third Impact confirms the feeling is mutual. Likewise, supplementary materials explain that Asuka returned with him to the real world because she specifically needed him.
- In SHUFFLE!, though Asa has been friends with Rin for a long time, she was the last of the girls in the harem to reveal she has feelings for him beyond just friendship and end up as the official couple. Though that doesn't stop Sia from reminding Rin that polygamy is legal where she is from.
- In Enchanted, Prince Edward ends up with Nancy, the last woman he meets in the real world.
- In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Scott dumps his girlfriend and gets over his ex-girlfriends to end up with Ramona, the last girl he met.
- Used surprisingly often in the James Bond films
- The Dark Knight Rises has Bruce Wayne settling down with Selina Kyle .
- Oz: The Great and Powerful has the eponymous wizard winding up with Glinda the Good Witch of the South, after going through Theodora.
- In The Sound of Music Captain Von Trapp's wife (and mother to his children) has been dead for years. He is currently half-heartedly courting the Baroness and he has one housekeeper. Maria is the final woman in his life to be introduced in the movie and she of course ends up marrying him. Notable in that she and the Baroness have a quasi-rivalry for his affections in the second act which really emphasises the "Last" part of the trope.
- Bram Stoker's Dracula has a Beta Couple example. Lucy's suitors are introduced at the ball one by one. The one she eventually chooses is the third one to arrive - Arthur. One could argue this trope is used for Mina too. The film makes her a reincarnation of Dracula's The Lost Lenore but she ends up with her Canon fiancée Jonathan.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has a bit of a gender inversion - while Bashir and Quark both go after Jadzia for a while, it's fourth season import Worf who ends up marrying her.
- Then played straight for Bashir, sort of, when he ends up with Ezri at the end of the series.
- It was a Foregone Conclusion, but neither Chloe Sullivan nor Alicia Baker nor Lana Lang had a chance against Lois Lane on Smallville.
- This is the most probable outcome for Ted in How I Met Your Mother since Future Ted has pretty much stated that once he actually met the Mother he stopped looking at other women. The final season plays with this by showing that Ted and the Mother almost met on multiple occasions but they might not have actually hooked up because of the circumstances (the Mother was grieving for her dead boyfriend, Ted was still in love with Robin, Ted was dating the Mother's roommate). When he finally meets her in the finale, they reached a point in their lives where they are ready for the relationships without their old baggage interfering.
- Or that's what we believed until it was averted in series finale, with Robin and Ted ending up together and we have a First Girl Wins.
- Frasier Crane had many, many love interests over the course of the show's 11 seasons, (plus two marriages and one fiancee who leaves him at the altar on Cheers, which Frasier was spun off from); but Frasier finally settles into an actually happy relationship with a woman he first meets in the show's final season, with the implication that they wind up happily ever after.
- Phoebe in Charmed goes through many different love interests but by the final season, Coop is the last one to be introduced and he's the one that wins her heart. He is a Cupid after all.
- Considering that the player chooses what supports to have, there is always the potential for the last person to be used in Fire Emblem. However, there are cases that are more obvious than others...
- In Fire Emblem 8, Badass Bookworm Saleh is the last of Eirika's potential husbands that we meet, regardless of route. He fits the trope if you hook them up through supports.
- In the case of Eirika's brother Ephraim, there's L'Arachel... Who is also Last Girl for Innes, if you choose her over Eirika or Vanessa.
- Male version: Ewan is the last of Amelia's possible love interests introduced (Franz can recruit her in both routes, so he's First Guy by default. And Ross joined the part a little after Franz did, so he's in the middle).
- Kyle is Last Guy for Lute, contrasting with First Guy Artur. Marisa is the last girl for Joshua, but in the case of Gerik it depends on which path you choose.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, out of Chrom's bachelorettes the last one to arrive is Shrinking Violet Olivia. You can have her marry Chrom in the same chapter she appears! (And the game even pokes fun at it!)
- In the case of Sumia, the girl with the smallest pool of prospect boyfriends, the last one to come into action is Sociopathic Hero Henry.
- Tiltyu is the last of Levin's potential wives to appear in Genealogy of the Holy War, and she fits the trope if you hook them up (Which quite a few people do), but is non-canon. Bridget the archer is also this to every unpaired male, but especially fellow Archers Jamuka and Midayle, who start out being in love with her sister... which is questioned to be Loving a Shadow in both their Lover Conversations at the end of Gen 1.
- Male example: Claude is the last of Sylvia's predestined love interests to be recruited. And this pairing is implied to be canon in both the unofficial manga and Thracia 776.
- Lex/Tiltyu and Azel/Tiltyu are both cases of First Girl and Last Girl; she's their childhood friend, but both guys start out with crushes on Ayra and Edain, respectively.
- Mostly Azel. Lex didn't know Ayra until she was recruited. Azel, on the other hand, had his entire reason for joining with Sigurd as a way to be close to Edain.
- We can't forget Mysterious Waif Sophia in the case of Fire Emblem 6's Roy. And either Fiora for his dad Eliwood, or Farina for Lilina's dad Hector. Who, OTOH, is Last Guy for Lyndis. And there's Sain as Last Guy for Rebecca, and Farina doubling as Last Girl for Kent...
- In the Neverwinter Nights Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark arc, you can end up with Aribeth, who is the second-last named female character to be introduced in the story.
- Although she originally appeared back in the core game, making her the first girl the player meets, the plot makes it clear that it's not the same player character.
- Potentially gender-inverted in Dragon Age II, as Sebastian (a potential Love Interest for Female!Hawke) only joins your party in chapter 2, where every other character did in chapter 1.
- Tidus meets Yuna as the last of the three female leads in Final Fantasy X, and ends up snogging her in that beautiful underwater scene in Macalania Woods.
- Given the multi-choice nature of the game, Baldur's Gate both fulfills and averts this trope: You meet Aerie much later than either of the other two potential love interests (a game later in fact)
- Interestingly enough, in the context of BGII itself, Aerie is likely the second woman you meet (Jaheira being thrown at you at the very beginning, Viconia likely being the last you find because the game forces you to go to Waukeen's Promenade before it will allow you to travel to the Government District).
- But both the game and Viconia react like she joined your party for a time in the first game, even if she never did.
- In Dragon Quest V, while Bianca is canonically the First Girl the hero meets, the player technically meets her last in the DS version, thanks to a scene where the youngster meets Nera and Debora at the harbor. In the original, Flora (Nera in the DS translation) is the Last Girl, as he doesn't meet her until he visits her hometown as a young adult. Debora could also qualify, as she butts into the Engagement Challenge at literally the last possible second just to offer herself as a choice (which her father refuses to acknowledge unless you actually PICK her).
- Rinoa is the last of the three female party members that Squall meets in Final Fantasy VIII - by a considerable margin, since it turns out that Squall spent his early childhood at the same orphanage as Quistis and Selphie.
- In Fate/stay night, Saber enters Shirou's story after the other two characters who have their own routes in the game, although not before all the fanbait minor characters. (Note that in the anime, this can also be taken as a First Girl Wins — Saber is the first girl we see.)
- This also applies to the visual novel, as the prologue starts with the scene where Shirou meets Saber and then flashes back a few days to show us the first few days of the story from Rin's perspective.
- This is what happens in Rin Tezuka's path in Katawa Shoujo.
- In Deardrops, Riho is technically the last girl to join the band, but she's certainly the canon love interest.
- While the Tsukihime visual novel allows you to choose any girl, Arcueid, the closest there is to a 'canon' pairing, is the last girl Shiki meets in all versions of the story (except for the the 'far side' game routes in which Shiki never meets her at all.)
- Although the Memory Days protagonist's main love interests to choose from are Haru, Daichi, and Kai, it's possible for her to not pick any of them by the end of the year. If that happens, this unlocks the seventh of all ten possible endings, where she gets together with Sakka, a prince from another world.