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: O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures
are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world,
That has such people in't! Prospero
: Tis new to thee.
Character whose inexperience with the world presented by the show allows them to act as the Audience Surrogate
. Often it is through their eyes that we are introduced to the show's principal characters and milieu (see Welcome Episode
). Sometimes incorporates qualities of The Watson
and Fish out of Water
. May lack Genre Blindness
They may be Trapped in Another World
, new additions to a Wizarding School
, the fresh recruit
, or just The Intern
, but the device is the same.
In dangerous situations, this character may condemn himself as a coward for feeling fear, until a sager head tells him
that only the Fearless Fool
A popular character type in Speculative Fiction
, because it allows the reader or viewer to explore the world as the character does, meaning the character is still an Audience Surrogate
, but is a little more instrumental to the story because of the greater amount of details being presented.
Done poorly these characters may just become flimsy justifications for an Info Dump
, making them a sort of inverse Mr. Exposition
Can overlap with Country Mouse
, Kid-Appeal Character
(who is also there to draw in younger audiences), Welcome to the Big City
(their usual introduction to city life), Ordinary High-School Student
(impressionable person applied to an odd situation). Accidental errors may lead to a Bewildering Punishment
A Super Trope
to Rookie Red Ranger
(the newcomer is also The Hero
and/or The Leader
), Ensign Newbie
(the newcomer is an officer presiding over a more experienced enlisted crew), and The Watson
(the newcomer's purpose is to get information for the audience by proxy).
Compare Unfazed Everyman
Contrast Team Prima Donna
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Anime & Manga
- Tower of God: Twentyfifth Baam, who spent years living in a cave with only a single girl as social contact, enters the secluded world of the Tower, which is an alien environment for most, and finds out that it can get a little rough when everybody is aiming for the same.
- Novice tennis player Eiichirou has to learn the basics of the sport in Baby Steps.
- Rokuro Okajima, AKA Rock, from Black Lagoon. A salaryman kidnapped by pirates, his decision to stay with them introduces the audience to the criminal underworld of the series.
- The virginal Kate Curtis in the hentai Bondage Queen Kate.
- Soah from The Bride Of The Water God, a literal Country Mouse now living at court with the Water God, and dealing with the intrigues of the Emperor.
- In Haibane Renmei, Rakka acts as the Naive Newcomer, appearing in the Haibane's world and having to have everything explained to her by the seasoned residents.
- Keiichi in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is played as this in the first time loop, but in later ones it seems like he knows more about Hinamizawa.
- Madoka and Sayaka in Puella Magi Madoka Magica start out thinking they're in a typical Magical Girl series. Cue abrupt disillusionment when the idealistic Mami is killed in action in the third episode. Sorry girls, it's not that kind of series.
- Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, he is a lot less of a Wide-Eyed Idealist than many examples. He also possibly already knows at least one of the hideous secrets of the Evas, though he does choose not to remember it. It was how his mother ended up "dying"- she was turned into a pool of LCL and her soul got sucked into Unit 01 during a test run- with him watching as a young tyke. Ouch.
- Luffy tends to get most of these moments in One Piece, as he honestly doesn't care how the world works unless it's directly relevant to him somehow. The other members of the Straw Hat crew also occasionally get moments of it, being among the very few denizens of the relatively tame East Blue to travel the considerably more deadly Grand Line, and thus having heard precious little about it beforehand.
- Ahiru in Princess Tutu since she's a duck that was magically turned into a girl.
- Utena early on in Revolutionary Girl Utena. She knows absolutely nothing about the Duels and the Rose Bride, prior to mistakenly challenging the current champion to a duel.
- Tsukune in Rosario + Vampire, a human accidentally enrolled in Youkai Academy. As such, the world of the monsters is introduced through him slowly learning about them.
- Linna Yamazaki in the Bubblegum Crisis remake, Tokyo 2040. Rather than an existing member of the team, the series follows her recruitment and learning curve.
- Noelle from Tenshi Ni Narumon. Might be slightly subverted in that she is the heroine but the plot is told from her love interest's point of view.
- Takumi from Initial D is an interesting variation on this forthe first couple seasons. Despite being nearly godlike in his abilities, he's often having basic racing techniques and auto facts/mechanics explained to him because he's developed his skills in isolation on his own and has no background. Later on, the racers he's defeated (despite being high-level themselves) often serve as the audience to explanations.
- Mitsuki Koyama/Fullmoon in Full Moon o Sagashite. Justified since she's been fighting a cancerous tumor most of her life.
- Hayato Kazami from Future GPX Cyber Formula at the beginning of the TV series. This is justified as he has no previous experience in racing (outside of motorcycle racing).
- Hanaukyō Maid Tai. Taro is this throughout both series as he's continually hit by new information and surprises.
- New people who were killed get transported into the Tokyo condominium inhabited by the black sphere Gantz every time the old batch get killed during their alien hunting missions. In this case, having the more battle experienced members explain the rules from the get-go could mean the difference between successfully completing the mission (barely) alive and immediately getting turned into a bloody smear on the sidewalk (or get their heads blown off by the distance activated bombs placed in their noggins).
- Eureka Seven: Renton Thurston starts out as one when he joins the Gekkostate. He's a jovial kid who hates his dull life and wishes to have more freedom. Too bad Gekkostate sees him as a gawky, timid, 14-year old snot nose whose sole purpose is to be their Butt Monkey. Renton is enraged that the crew sees him as an immature baby whom they give no respect. Come several episodes later, he's had enough, blows his stack in a firefight, and slaughters a whole KLF squadron very horrifically. Shortly afterward, Eureka's pissed at the whole crew for egging him all this time, which causes them to drop all ideas of messing with him and treat him as an equal.
- In Gurren Lagann, Simon appears to be this when it comes to being flung into hot-blooded mecha battles with his badass "bro" Kamina, freaking out most of the time when trouble rears its ugly head. Whenever he does something awesome, usually Kamina encouraged it. However, when Kamina dies in the battle to take the Dai-Gunzan from Thymilph, Simon goes into a Heroic BSOD that turns him Darker and Edgier for a short while and wipes out his cowardice in place of grief and anger. However, when he gets over it... he, too, becomes a triumphant badass who's by no means a naive kid, but a man. Post-Time Skip, he's 18 years old and effectively a mature, well-versed leader in battle. Government, however, is another story.
- When first introduced, Nia isn't even aware of what a human is despite she and her father being ones themselves.
- Astral in Yu Gi Oh Zexal, although he has become less naive as the series has progressed.
- Cardfight!! Vanguard brought in Large Ham Naoki in the third season, Link Joker, to act as an Audience Surrogate learning the game for the first time, since the regular guy, Aichi, had not only already learned the game, but had also completed his character arc fully.
- Z in From Eroica with Love is the newest addition to the infamous Alphabet Team.
- Lyrical Nanoha
- Lucy Heartfilia, and later Wendy Marvel from Fairy Tail. Downplayed in that it's still a fun universe - it's a world built up on how awesome it is to test magic with your friends - but it takes a while for it to sink in that a lot of these missions are really dangerous.
- Most of the 104th Trainee Corps in Attack on Titan were woefully naive about just how terrifying Titans were. Even after their hellish training, most start panicking during their first mission and die like flies.
- Intentionally invoked in Tokyo Ghoul, with Yoshimura requesting that the newly-Half-Human Hybrid Kaneki begin to learn about Ghouls in order to understand them, and judge for himself whether they are the monsters humanity has been led to believe. Juuzou serves as this to the CCG side of things, having been recruited without any formal training or education and partnered with Shinohara, a former Academy instructor.
- Matty Roth from DMZ. Long story short contest: imagine an Alternate History with a Divided States of America and a continuing Civil War between the two sides. Imagine that the island of Manhattan is the line between the two sides, a No Man's Land that neither side can take, neither side will give up, and where the locals hate both sides and are trying to continue living as best they can. Now imagine a naive photographer who has just graduated college with little interest in politics or history, got himself an internship with a news corporation, and within a week wound up stranded and alone in Manhattan when the story he was going to be part of went terribly wrong. Good luck, Matty.
- Das Boot: The presence of a war correspondent aboard the titular vessel means that there is a proper excuse for explaining various aspects of submarine operations to the audience, by having crewmembers explain them to this character, who could reasonably be expected not to already know it.
- Subverted in Ghostbusters Winston Zeddemore is not a scientist, let alone a parapsychologist, and applies for the job after seeing an ad put in the paper by the seriously over-worked Ghostbusters. His interview is a small moment of comic relief suggesting that he has no idea what he's getting himself into...and then he has no problem with the job, even going so far as to suggest a paranormal explanation for why the Ghostbusters were so over-worked in the first place.
- Will Smith in Men In Black learns that his experience as a NYPD cop means precisely dick when he enters the new world of alien policing.
- In the film version of Astrid Lindgren's Mio, my Mio the titular character serves as the Naive Newcomer as he was taken from the Land of Faraway as a newborn and doesn't return until nine years later. After a while it gets a bit tedious that he constantly needs to have the world explained to him, but it also leads to a rather funny moment (largely thanks to Christian Bale's delivery). It involves Mio (Nicholas Pickard) and Jum-Jum (Bale) gallopping along a bridge that's being raised, and Mio panicks when he can't get the horse to stop. The horse then proceeds to fly across the gap in the bridge, and then the following exchange:
Mio: It felt like we were flying! I didn't know Miramis could do that!
Jum-Jum: (in a kids-are-stupid tone) What you know does not amount to much, Mio.
- Shilo from Repo! The Genetic Opera. She was locked in her bedroom for 17 years. A large chunk of the story is about her entering the real world for the first time, and the trouble being naive gets her into.
- Lt. Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In the next film, she was taken out of this capacity, but stuck around anyway. And was recast with a less charismatic actress.
- Norvile Barnes in The Hudsucker Proxy is a naive midwesterner, fresh from business school. He arrives in New York for work and finds everything requires experience, and he winds up in the mailroom.
- Dr. Reeves in Twister. As a psychiatrist riding with tornado chasers, she asked questions on behalf of the audience like "Is there an F5?".
- Adam Webber from Blast from the Past. Living in a bomb shelter with your parents for 35 years will do that to ya.
- Steve Rogers/Captain America in The Avengers. Compared to the rest of the Avengers, he is inexperienced with the new world and with SHIELD. He's the least jaded of the Avengers and the youngest. The trope is subverted in that he's their best leader.
- Anderson plays this role in Dredd, but the movie inverts the usual mechanic; rather than Anderson asking Dredd questions, Dredd gives Anderson pop quizes throughout the film as part of her assessment.
- Higher Learning gives us three in the form of college freshmen Malik, Kristen, and Remy. Of those three, Kristen remains naive the longest.
- Lemuel Gulliver from Gullivers Travels. Not exactly his fault, though; how the hell was he supposed to know that giants and pygmies existed? Indeed, he turns out to be a fast learner and settles into a comfortable routine in each new kingdom.
- Harry Potter, in most of the first book and every so often thereafter.
- Given the fact that they are attending a school, nearly all the students count as this to a degree, especially Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Draco. Ron and Hermione both have the humorous dichotomy of being both the one asking the question and the one answering the others' questions, depending on the subject. Further exacerbated since Harry and Hermione were raised by non-wizards, so there's quite a lot of the wizarding world that they simply do not know exists (such as wizard fairy tales).
- Dr. Maturin in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels often serves as an excuse to explain naval lingo, especially in Master and Commander. Otherwise avoided because Maturin is otherwise the most sophisticated character on board.
- In The Chronicles of Narnia, Eustace on his first trip to Narnia in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; likewise, Jill on her first trip in The Silver Chair.
- Paul Carpenter in Tom Holt's The Portable Door (and subsequent novels). Considering the entire place pretty much is having fun keeping him thinking he's insane due to all the crazy things happening, he doesn't really fall into this trope as much as sink horrifyingly into it as it slowly closes its inky black waters around him.
- Thursday Next herself in the Thursday Next series. She's an apprentice in the BookWorld, and is always being educated in its many intricacies.
- The viewpoint character of nearly every utopian novel ever written (often combined with The Watson.
- Most fantasy novels do this to some extent. If the lead character isn't summoned from another world, he's almost certainly from a small town and hasn't experienced the larger world. Either way, many things must be explained to him and, thus, the reader. Examples are numerous.
- In Lord of the Rings, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins grew up in the Shire, isolated from things that made you late for breakfast.
- In The Belgariad, Garion grew up on a small farm, specifically isolated from the larger world by his "aunt".
- In The Wheel of Time, Rand al'Thor and his friends Perrin and Matt grew up in a small town far from the turmoil of the world.
- In Myth Adventures, Skeeve grew up in an isolated, backward universe.
- Foundation: "His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen Trantor before."
- Adam of the web-novel Domina. Maybe. He looks like it at first, but then he was able to shoot a zombie without so much as blinking, so maybe he doesn't really count for the "naive" requirement.
- In The Monk, Antonia is so unused to life in the city that she doesn't know her custom of wearing a veil in public is considered old-fashioned.
- In Someone Else's War, Matteo has been newly conscripted into the Lord's Resistance Army and must quickly learn to adapt to life as a combatant... until he decides otherwise.
- Dill, in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is a way to introduce to the reader the secrets and history of a self-contained and private community and family.
- In Island in the Sea of Time, Ian Arnstein, a visitor from the West Coast, serves as this, helping to introduce the reader to Nantucket.
- A Mage's Power: Eric is new to the world of the Tariatla and to the Dragon's Lair Mercenary Company. The first couple chapters are about him learning about both of them, training for his new position as a battle mage, and spending nine days in a library. Then it's out into the wilderness to fight monsters....
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy was new in town and had to be introduced to everyone and to all significant locations. Gets a little odd when she's already been there for a few years and still doesn't know anyone outside of the main cast in any of her classes at their supposedly tiny school.
- Carnivāle: Ben who is the butt of many a joke among the carnival folk at the beginning of the series.
- Criminal Minds: Elle was this in the first episode. She only stayed on for one season, and the show never used this trope again.
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Holly Gribbs shapes up to be one of these in the first episode. She's promptly shot at the end of the episode, dies in the second, and is replaced by Sara Sidle.
- Doctor Who: Just about all of the Doctor's companions, but especially Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright in the original show, and Rose Tyler in the current revival. In those case we get introduced to the Doctor through their eyes, whereas in other companion introductions we already know the Doctor when we see him meet them.
- Eureka: Jack Carter. Later season episodes justify this continued status by focusing more on his inability to understand complicated science rather than his lack of comfort with the many world-ending experiments performed in the city, though he may also be evolving into The Watson.
- Homicide: Life on the Street: Detective Tim Bayliss is this for most of the run. Ultimately a Subverted Trope at the end of the series and in the subsequent movie, where he guns down a serial killer set free in the former and confesses to his ex-partner in the latter and presumably goes to jail.
- Wes Gibbins in How To Get Away With Murder is an aw-shucks well-meaning type who rides a bike to Annalise Keating's law class, a class where most of the students are already cocky backstabbers. To give it context, one of his fellows has already prostituted himself for evidence by the end of the pilot. It should be noted, though, that after a short speech by the professor near the end of the episode, he does his best to shed his naivety.
- Kyle XY: Kyle, who is essentially a 16-year old infant. The same goes for Jessie when she's introduced.
- Law & Order: SVU: Detective Brian Cassidy, in the first season. Played with in that he does not last the season.
- Nikita: Alex is a new recruit of the covert assassin operation known as "Division" in this action series.
- Power Rangers: This show is rather fond of this, typically putting one of these in as Red Ranger. This in contrast to Super Sentai, more fond of having the same ranger be The Ace, leading to occasional amusing dissonance between character and behavior in the American version.
- Revolution: Charlie Matheson. Justified Trope, because she has spent years of her life living in an isolated town in a territory that is effectively a third world country ("Pilot"). While the naive part sometimes reaches to Too Dumb to Live levels, she has gotten better by the end of the first season ("The Dark Tower").
- Sanctuary: Will Zimmerman. Eventually he had to pass this torch to Kate, but he still gets his chances at it occasionally.
- Scandal: Quinn, so very much. She becomes less so as the series progresses, however.
- Stargate SG-1:
- The West Wing: Donna's orientation by her predecessor in a flashback sequence. She's not only tricked into thinking there's a nuclear warhead on the White House grounds, she reveals her surprise of this "fact" in an interview with a teen magazine, showing her "bambiesque naivite" to the world ("I'm too stupid to live!").
- The X-Files: Scully is a doctor and trained FBI agent, but is totally unprepared for what she's facing on her new assignment....
- Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings:
- In Planescape natives and veterans to the setting can instantly tell one of these (A "prime", as said people are typically fresh off one of the various Prime Material planes) from other people, simply by how much they stare at Sigil's utter bizarreness.
And "Prime" is the in-game polite term. The not-so-polite term is the far more telling "Clueless." It's quite appropriate based on how much the setting deconstructed the typical D&D experience. It also happened in the metagame. A player new to the setting was quite likely to find the typical way he thought about D&D turned upside down.
- Ravenloft, a Gothic horror setting which took inspiration from 18th-20th century horror literature and Hammer Horror films, had an equally disorienting effect on players who approached it following the tropes and logic of other settings or "general" D&D.
- The Tau Empire in Warhammer 40,000. Imagine a tiny, multi-cultural alien empire that holds up a belief called the Greater Good, promoting peace and co-operation between all races. Now, put them in one of the biggest and scariest Crapsack Galaxies ever devised, with hordes of genocidal, xenocidal and even one or two omnicidal factions all waging constant war. The results are expected, and the fluff plays this up often: on two separate occasions, the Tau have stupidly tried to ally with the Necrons and the Dark Eldar and both occasions things ended extremely badly for them. That said, recent updates seem to show that the grim reality of the universe they inhabit is slowly starting to sink in, and while they're one of the weaker factions on a galactic scale, it's still not a good idea to trifle with their ground settlements.
- This is an inherent problem with newly-founded Imperial Guard regiments, as stated in the spin-off tabletop RPG Only War. There is much pomp and glory in joining a Guard regiment and fighting for the glory of the Imperium, and new Guardsmen are often very proud of being inducted. The reality of actual service against the various terrifyingly advanced aliens and daemonic horrors of the galaxy is a bit more miserable than most of the poor bastards expect. This is especially true of regiments founded on agri-worlds; unlike hive worlds and feral worlds where the recruits tend to have backgrounds as tough criminals and gangsters or grizzled hunters and survivalists, agri-world recruits tend to be simple farm-hands who grew up in a (relatively) sheltered environment, wholly unprepared for what nightmarish things dwell outside their little agrarian homes.
- In the backstory, the Imperium itself was this during the Emperor's reign and mankind's golden age. Almost everyone else is amazed to learn that they had no idea what Chaos is at all.
- Some of the Weird Wars settings for Savage Worlds have a Hindrance for simulating this trope called F-ing New Guy.
- The first two Shadow Hearts games have the female lead be a Naive Newcomer to the world of monsters and the supernatural, while Yuri is a relative old hand—and the Cool Old Guy is very much an old hand. From the New World inverts this, with the male lead being the Naive Newcomer, and the female lead the old hand, while the Cool Old Guy is likely as or more naive than the male lead, although he's too crazy to show it.
- Tidus from Final Fantasy X. His father Jecht, while not a Point-of-view character, also suffered from this several years earlier.
- Legaia: Duel Saga has the protagonist filling this role. Which is really, really irksome when, after playing for twenty hours, you realize he's entirely oblivious about everything, when everything quite literally revolves around him.
- Shirou in Fate/stay night has no training as a magus except a basic grasp of strengthening and a rather intuitive knowledge of projection. Tohsaka gets pretty annoyed that he knows next to nothing about magic and nothing at all about the Grail War. He's drastically unprepared for the violence going on, so it's a good thing he's The Hero and has a Servant so brokenly strong that she's still a match/superior to any of the other Servants except Berserker and possibly Lancer.
- Call of Duty 4 starts off by new S.A.S. member Soap MacTavish showing his proficiency at a firing range and making his way through a 'killhouse' shooting pop-up terrorist targets. The game suggests a difficulty based on how well you manuever through said killhouse. That he soon starts taking levels in badassery needs not to be said.
- Gears of War 2 features the main characters leading a 'green as grass' new recruit on his first patrol - who, by bizarre coincidence, is one of the three brothers of the redshirt on Marcus's squad in the previous game.
- Like Winston Zeddemore discussed under "Films" above, the Rookie in Ghostbusters: The Video Game doesn't have much of a problem adjusting to the job of catching ghosts and stopping a supernatural apocalypse. The trope is played straight at the same time, however, as he's caught somewhat off-guard when told his job description in layman's terms is to test new gear on the off-chance it explodes. Interestingly, it's suggested that Winston has become a scientist in the time between the first movie and the game.
- Theo Decabe, from the final game of the Chzo Mythos, is a naive newcomer. Trapped in the building of an evil occult organization Theo mostly just tries to figure out what's going on and to find a way out. Outside forces, however, conspire him to A Fate Worse Than Death.
- Phoenix Wright starts off as this in the first Ace Attorney game. He gets nervous, but doubly becomes so when the prosecution gets the upper hand in court or if Phoenix loses his advantage in the case. On top of this, he's always looking to someone to bail him out of a jam if he gets stuck, such as Mia. Despite characters that tell Phoenix that he is blind to how things really work, he still does what he think is right by just sheer determination. By the next two games, Phoenix slowly starts to shed off his newcomer skin and by Apollo Justice, Phoenix is a lot wiser and more mellow, but still fierce in finding the truth.
- Merrill in Dragon Age II has little experience with anything outside the Dalish, and is inordinately fascinated by the Kirkwall Alienage.
- James Vega in Mass Effect 3 is a subversion, as he is a veteran soldier who is only naīve in galactic politics.
- In a very odd way, the Nameless One of Planescape: Torment; despite being hundreds of years old at minimum, everything in his bizarre world is new to him because of his amnesia.
- When Arnie first meets Richard and Saya in Super Robot Wars UX, they act like a bunch of comedians to fool him, and not long after he finds out they're the UX, but he still believes they're capable of living as actors/comedians (comic story tellers) rather than mercenaries.
- Calix plays this role in the "Oceans Unmoving" arc from Sluggy Freelance. Most of the explanations he gets about Timeless Space are done in the form of extremely boring informational videos, even when the people around him could answer his questions far more quickly. Calix gets kinda pissed about this.
- In Sinfest, Tangerine acts this.
- In The Specialists, the Baron's new secretary introduces us to the ubermenschen as she arrives.
- Jack in Thornsaddle. He's a muggle-born entering a Wizarding School for the first time without knowing anything about the wizarding world.
- Ann and Annette in Creative Release. Actually, Player 1 would be the real one - they appear to have much better a grasp of what is going on when they aren't being controlled by Player 1.
- In Sturgeons Law, not only has Rakesh not figured out that the rest of the company doesnt share his altruistic streak, but hes unaware that the company is anything more than a law firm.
- In True Villains, Bayn fills in new villain apprentice Sebastian about Xaneth's past.
- Contest Jitters has Janet Steele in her second bodybuilding competition. She is shown to be a bit too trusting for her own good.
- Fry from Futurama was a prime example of this trope...but he adapted too quickly and the writers decided to make him Too Dumb to Live.
- Doug was this slightly when he moved to Bluffington in the first (chronological) episode.
- Starfire from Teen Titans is new to earth, but since the audience is already familiar with earth this doesn't lead to infodumps. Mostly it's just funny to watch her suggest putting mint frosting on pizza and drinking mustard.