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No Sense of Direction
Thankfully, some members of the crew aren't this out of whack. note 

"Grrrr!! Not again! This is the 75TH time! I could have SWORN Caelin was in this direction!"

A character who has no idea where he's going, and tends to get lost easily.

And not just the regular kind of lost either. They could get lost in a walk-in closet. This person simply has No Sense Of Direction.

A little like the Flying Dutchman, except that this character wanders not because of a curse but because he can't find where he's trying to go. Often becomes one of those Achievements in Ignorance when the character somehow arrives at the right place despite their utter inability to get there.

Also see Directionless Driver, when the character actively refuses navigation assistance. Contrast with The Navigator, someone who's skilled with directions.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • One commercial for a mobile phone's GPS mapping feature shows Ozzy Osbourne needing the device to find the bathroom in his mansion. Hilariously enough, it shows he didn't even know he had said bathroom.
  • A series of radio commercials for a Southern California tire store had two characters trying to tour the world and constantly mixing up remote locations for more local ones — assuming they were in Ontario (the Canadian province) when they were actually in Ontario (the California city), for example.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Trope Codifier is Ryōga Hibiki of Ranma ˝.
    • He's so predictably late that everyone schedules their meetings with him a week early to allow for a week of him finding his way. A big part of his backstory is that he missed a fight with Ranma because he got lost for three days, despite the place they were supposed to meet was behind Ryōga's house.
    • This runs in his family and leads to Parental Abandonment as they can never manage to be home at the same time (girl-Ranma was even able to claim she was a sister he had never met using this and a Wig, Dress, Accent).
    • He seems to always either take the wrong direction (when given the choice between three roads, one of which he's told is right and one of which he's told is wrong, he takes the third road), or take directions too literally (when told to go "straight down the road" to the Seikan Tunnel from Hokkaido, he did just that — despite the fact the road curved and his route caused him to leap off of the road). His absurd levels of stamina, which lets him run at top speed for literally hours or even days without stopping, as well as being able to plough right through everything in his path, makes this worse as he can cover distances far sooner than direction-givers might expect and, particularly after learning the Breaking Point, there's literally nothing that can force him to change directions.
    • In the Shishi Hokodan story arc, Ranma is reading a letter from Ryōga which he claims to have sent from Hokkaido. It's accompanied by a photo of him standing in front of a sign reading "Welcome to Hong Kong" with Chinese locals visible in the background, so there is canon evidence of Ryōga traversing an ocean without realizing it.
    • In his first appearance, there's a snippet with people laughing when he says he walked to that location. He's on a yacht.
    • At one point, he goes the wrong direction immediately after being given directions.
    • He once made a map describing how he found the item of the week. The map shows France, Africa, China, the dojo, and a red car.
    • He even went the wrong direction from the starting line in a race. It was a three-legged race and he was tied to Ukyo who was going the right way.
    • One of his Image Songs (Haikei Akane-san) is written as a travel card/love letter to Akane. He angsts a lot about being so far away from her, but the lyrics make it clear that while he thinks he's in the other end of Japan, he's probably in her backyard.
    • In the abridged chronicles, he's gone from having No Sense of Direction, to having No Sense of Direction and a stubborn refusal to ask for them. When he finally decides to ask, he thinks that "north" is "up."
    • Fanfiction likes to emphasize this. Numerous fanfics have him getting so badly lost he somehow manages to wander into other dimensions.
    • Ani-Mayhem represented this particular quirk by forcing Ryōga to move in a random direction every third turn; on top of that, in an odd example of Painting the Medium, Ryōga's card uses a different icon for his Movement stat than every other character in the gamenote .
  • Several of the Straw Hat pirates in One Piece, as pictured.
    • Roronoa Zoro (pictured above, upper left), by far the worst, is prone to get lost easily. He'll take off in the opposite direction as soon as The Team sets out. When needing to go south, he once went in exactly the wrong direction despite being in the company of a bird whose head will only ever point to the south. When told to head north, he climbs the tallest building in the vicinity (again, the "north is up" principle). He can be quoted as having once said "It was on the right side of the map, so I just have to keep going right." He then turned to the left. Zoro gets lost in a situation where it should've been impossible (like when Nami outright tells him to follow her in the CP9 arc), and often blames the others for "getting lost".

      Hilariously seen in a fan video. To the tune of Yakety Sax, for added points. The absolute worst example has to be at Enies Lobby. He gets lost walking to a set of stairs 20 feet in front of him. He blames Nami's bad directions. Chopper (pictured above, upper right) responded by offering to make Zoro a cure for hopeless idiocy. Post-time skip, when the crew was reuniting on Sabaody Archipelago, Zoro was first one there and is incredibly smug about it (though it was thanks to Perona's help). Though played straight back into position when he decides to go fishing and gets on a pirate ship as well. He blames destiny and cuts the ship in half. He has, on the other hand, no trouble finding someone when he wants to get away from them, like in a post-Enies Lobby filler episode when he's wearing an embarrassing shirt he doesn't want to be seen in, and ends up running into everyone in the crew when trying to avoid them. He's been called a fantasista (roughly, calling someone a "daydreamer" in a derogatory fashion) twice. By Nami in Enies Lobby, and by Perona in the Whereabouts stories. Not to mention the fact that in the G8 filler arc, the marines have set up an ambush at one end of a straight hallway and it doesn't have any offshoots from it. Zoro was leading the crew down that hallway towards the end where the marines set up the ambush, but they were being followed by a seperate bunch of marines. Somehow the marines that were chasing Zoro and the crew got to the ambush before the Straw Hats did. It is this event that proves Zoro can get lost in a straight hallway.
    • Luffy (pictured above, bottom of image), thinks the best way to find "south" is to head in the direction it's warmest. It's so bad that in the anime version, even the narrator gives up on them.
    • Chopper, who is also on the page picture, does not have a bad sense of direction per se (his is probably quite average). He is just very fearful, and as the forest the four characters were traversing was full of dangerous enemies, he got so scared that he just ran off without noticing where he was going.
  • In Bleach, Kenpachi has No Sense of Direction and has to rely on Yachiru for guidance. Unfortunately, she is just as bad as him. The fact that Seireitei is built like a huge labyrinth makes both worse but doesn't slow them down any.
  • Ran Mouri in Detective Conan. Combine that with some bad luck, and the kid often ends up in trouble.
  • Dominic from Eureka Seven has a working sense of direction, but he can't read a map for the life of him. He'll find his intended destination if he isn't relying on a map at all.
  • Hatsuharu in Fruits Basket gets lost a great deal. So much that whenever he has to go to the Sohma main estate for any parties, the family delivers him the invitation days before they do the same to the others so he won't arrive late.
  • In the little-known hentai manga Gorgon, all three Gorgon Sisters have this in levels that even rival Ryōga, the king of this trope. When you add the fact that Ciera has fangs and a curiously familiar headband, it makes you wonder if they aren't related.
  • Hajime No Ippo
    • Alexander Volg Zangief is a Russian man with very rusty Japanese, so in his first appearance he couldn't read the kanjis in the subway signs adequately and wasn't able to really explain his problem to others until Ippo showed up. He never seems to mind, even sleeping outside or under bridges without complaint when he can't find his way to lodging.
    • There is also Sendo Takeshi, who seems to get lost despite being from Japan (admittedly a different region from Ippo). He relies on cats to tell him where to go and sometimes just wanders until he finds what he is looking for. At one point he ran right past a boxing gym he had been to on several occasions.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler
    • Isumi seems to be magnetized towards Nagi's house when she's not lost altogether. Once she ended up trying to take a train to Rio de Janeiro and somehow wound up on DenLiner. She also once left her house in Tokyo and ended up in Greece.... Then she actually broke down in tears when she arrived somewhere on time for about the first time ever.
    • Nagi also has this, although the normal version, rather then epic levels like Isumi. (It's even on her character sheet!)) However, between Hayate, Maria and the SP's... she doesn't get many chances to display it because everyone knows not to leave her alone. If she is left alone, she gets lost in short order.
  • Pokémon
    • In the anime, the Goldenrod Gym Leader, Whitney, is like this.
    • In the beginning of the Sinnoh arc, Dawn has no clue how to get to the Sandgem Town lab and so she runs into Professor Rowan by complete accident. Her Piplup is even worse, though it may run in its evolution line...
    • Team Twerp cannot help but get completely lost on too many occasions to count. It gets ridiculous when you realize that at some point in their journey (throughout the Advanced Generation series, and halfway through the Diamond and Pearl series), they even had their universe's equivalent of a GPS.
  • The Prince of Tennis
    • In the first episode, Ryoma Echizen asked Sakuno Ryuzaki for directions... and she gave him the wrong ones. In a later episode, she arrives to their meeting several minutes late because she got lost too.
    • She's nowhere as bad as Kintarou, though. I doubt she'd get off a train in the wrong city!
  • Urusei Yatsura has the Prince of the Underworld. An alien warlord who could excavate tunnels with incredible speed and greatly enjoyed doing so, he also was infamous for getting lost in his own tunnels and digging them in the wrong directions. As an earlier Rumiko Takahashi series, he's often considered to the prototype for Ryōga.
  • Rurouni Kenshin
    • Sanosuke Sagara not only got lost trying to get to Kyoto, but he got himself even more lost with a compass in the Shishio arc.
    • This is apparently an inherited trait: his father Kamishimoemon is seemingly just as bad, as IIRC they met up after years in the north of the country... when his dad was just as lost as Sano was.
  • Kouyuu from Saiunkoku Monogatari is constantly getting lost on the walkways of the imperial palace, even with a map, and claims that the library where he works has been moved. This is mostly because during his childhood, his foster mother had the furniture rearranged every time he left the living room to strengthen her stories of the house being haunted and to curb his possible escape plan. It eventually cost him his sense of direction. He can get lost, it is said, within thirty paces. The only exceptions are if it's an emergency — when he discovers that Shuurei has been kidnapped, he's able to rush directly to Shuurei's rooms without incident — and, for some reason, if he's drunk.
  • Soul Eater
    • Marie, to the point where in the last few episodes of the anime, Crona decides just to choose all the opposite directions Marie takes and they end up getting to where they need to go.
    • Free the werewolf isn't much better. In the Baba Yaga arc of the manga he was supposed to destroy tower 1 and he went toward tower 2 instead. In the end he ended up at tower 8. Besides towers 2 and 8 were opposite to each other. He had been in Baba Yaga's Castle for a pretty long time by then...
  • Ginji Amano from Get Backers. He goes back to The Limitless Fortress (Mugenjou) and gets lost while attempting to find Makubex in the IL arc. Keep in mind that Ginji was the leader of his area, called lower town, in Mugenjou. Also, he grew up there.
  • Tenchi Muyo!
    • Mihoshi has managed to wander aimlessly into extradimensional spaces, such as Washu's Lab... especially Washu's Lab. Which is not only extradimensional, but specifically designed only be possible to connect to the outside universe when Washu wants it connected.
    • Similarly, Mitoto in GXP gets so engrossed in her cleaning that she usually ends up scrubbing the decks of a battleship even though she started in a bathroom at Galaxy Police Headquarters. Even the Space Pirates know about her, and let her go about her business when she ends up on their ships (probably because it would be impossible to hold her!). Like mother, like daughter. Namely, they're Washu's great- and great-great-granddaughter respectively. Washu herself, to the contrary, never gets lost. Nor does Mihoshi's great-great-aunt Ryoko (Washu's genetically engineered pseudo-clone daughter).
  • Austria from Axis Powers Hetalia is so bad at directions that he actually had to stay home for Valentine's because his roommate at that time, Germany, told him that he'd get lost if he went outside to buy a Valentine's gift for his best friend and ex-wife, Hungary. He opted to make her a gift himself. Comes up again in the Hetalia Bloodbath 2010, where he gets lost looking for the phone which is just in the next room.
  • Allen Walker from D.Gray-Man has been described as a "master of getting lost."
  • Love Hina
    • Su and Shinobu end up touring Japan by accident while trying to reach Kyoto. They even knew that they could just get there by one train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto. They ended up travelling from Tokyo to Hokkaido (the far northern island), and then later ended up in Okinawa (the far southern island) and many places in-between.
    • Motoko and Mitsune are no better. They ended up spending all the money they had at tourist attractions along the way, so had to find some quick cash just for food and transportation.
  • In Nagasarete Airantou, Shinobu can get lost crossing a street, and often suffers from severe hunger since she couldn't find any food for days. In one issue, another character found her and actually tried to hold her hand in order to get her to her destination. Unfortunately, Shinobu didn't like being babysat and ended up replacing herself with a log and even an animal. They both ended up getting lost. Shinobu seems to think there's nothing wrong with this character trait. Then again, she's just Dumb Muscle.
  • Nyan Koi!: Chizuru Mochizuki is a mail carrier and she even admits she has a horrible sense of direction, asking Junpei to help her find the places she's supposed to deliver to.
  • Ryoma of the Power Stone anime has an incredible tendency to get lost, though not as often as most examples.
  • The title character of Saki. It's pretty much a Running Gag in the tournament arcs that Saki gets lost whenever she wanders off on her own.
  • Heart No Kuni No Alice has Ace.
  • Asu no Yoichi! now has an entire family tree of people with no sense of direction. To make it even worse, they have great senses while fighting blindfolded.
  • Tomoe and Shizuka in Queen's Blade can't find where they're going with detailed maps. Granted, most of these maps are centuries out of date, but even with proper maps they still manage to get completely lost.
  • Manga series Gorgeous Carat has Florian, who is frequently shown getting lost. It becomes important to the plot, even. The other main character Ray realizes Florian has been kidnapped when the kidnapper tells him Florian left to go sightseeing, something he would obviously never do.
  • In the manga of Chrono Crusade, Rosette's journey from NYC to San Francisco to rescue her brother (A mission she went into demon-hunting to accomplish, and willingly sacrificed 3/4s of her lifespan to accomplish) took the the following route: First she went on a pilgrimage to her childhood home in Michigan. Then she traveled to Washington DC, where she got her car demolished (again). From there she took a train to Chicago (Which was hijacked and totaled en route). At this point, the Order got sick of the damage caused by her meandering journey and chartered a plane to take her to California. Either Moriyama didn't look up US Geography, or Rosette is a terrible cross-country navigator, because her trip was about 1500 miles longer than it should have been.
  • Kenji Yamaguchi from Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun.
  • Shinnojo from Gamaran is this combined with The Stoic, and usually blames others for his failures. Gets hilariously lampshaded by Iori during the travel to the Juuren Village.
    Shin: (dangerously near to a cliff) I think we should go East...
    Iori: OK guys, let's go West then.
  • Turns out to be another one of Nozomi's impressive list of fails in the second Pretty Cure All Stars movie. It's okay, though — she has Saki to accompany her as both of them just can't read a map to save their lives. There's even a scene were Saki and Mai are looking at the map they were given and Saki lifts it up, then holds it upside down, leading to her fairy companion Flappy to utter "Oh, brother-lapi."
  • The whole premise of Map Town by Junji Ito, about a town cursed so that its inhabitants lose all sense of direction, forcing them to rely on a complicated system of maps and signposts.

    Comedy 
  • The outdoor humorist Patrick McManus often writes about his ability to get lost. He even invented the "Modified Stationary Panic", (jumping in place and screaming) which keeps you from running blindly into 1) a tree/rock/lamppost or 2) the next county/state/country when you realize you're hopelessly lost.

    Comic Books 
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: Mortadelo's level of disorientation is legendary. Instructed to drive to Córdoba, Argentina (M&F are playing the 1978 FIFA World Cup with the Spanish team) he makes it to the Córdoba of Spain. After fording the ocean thinking it was a very wide river.

    Comic Strips 
  • One The Far Side strip has a wife angrily telling her husband as they're driving along the surface of the Moon:
    "For heaven's sake, Warren, now look where the Earth is! Pull over and let me drive!"
  • Dilbert's Pointy-Haired Boss has such a poor sense of direction he can't find his way out of a cubicle.

    Fan Works 
  • Midnight Green has very poor navigation skills. On one occasion when he simply wanted to walk down the stret, he ended up touring the entirety of Equestria, including Cloudsdale. Keep in mind he's a unicorn. His magical GPS doesn't help him either, as the thing simply does not work at all, claiming him to be in Canterlot when he's at Zecora's hut.
  • In Gadach Wen, after a fifth-year Hufflepuff named Stephen commented that he'd never be able to find his way to the dungeons on his own, Susan Bones replied "You wouldn't have been able to find the common room had we not drawn you a map in first year."
  • In Papa Snape Harry and his best friend from Muggle school were teasing each other on the Hogwarts Express before first year:
    Melody: You got lost in the school building the last day of term — walking from your locker to the cafeteria. They're right next to each other!
    Harry: I made a wrong turn!
    Melody: You were found on the roof.
    Harry: It was an accident!
  • This has become a popular characterisation of Thorin Oakenshield since the film version, due to his losing his way on the way to Bag End. Twice. Bag End, it must be noted, is built into the hill on what seems to be the main street of Hobbiton, so one must wonder how on earth he managed it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy says that Marcus Brody "once got lost in his own museum".
  • In Joe Versus The Volcano, the Waponis are renowned for having no sense of direction. Some of their ancestors were the crew of a Roman galley that got so lost that it sailed deep into the South Pacific and discovered their island.
  • This Is Spinal Tap: During one gig, the members of Spinal Tap managed to get lost between their dressing room and the stage.note 
  • The Muppet Movie: On their way to California, Kermit and Fozzie get epically lost, meandering through such places as the state of Rhode Island and Saskatchewan, Canada.

    Literature 
  • In Sarah Caudwell's Hilary Tamar mysteries, barrister Julia Larwood is notorious among her friends for getting lost in her native city of London, let alone anywhere else.
    • This is a plot point in Thus Was Adonis Murdered, when Julia goes to Venice on holiday, having borrowed Ragwort's guidebooks to various cities in the region. She manages to more-or-less navigate for some of her fellow tour group members one day by checking the map, finding out where they are, and recommending that they go see anything near that spot. She turned out to have been using a guidebook for the wrong city, which led to an art thief, also in the party, stealing a valueless painting from one of the churches they visited, because Julia quoted the guidebook's entry for a different church altogether.
    • Mentioned in passing in The Shortest Way to Hades, when Julia wraps up one of Selena's court cases, where finding the court in question is described as an expedition comparable to finding the source of the Blue Nile.
  • Joey Harker in Neil Gaiman's Interworld has literally gotten lost in his own house... though his inability to find his way around in three-dimensional space might have something to do with his worldwalking abilities.
  • Sir Gareth in Gerald Morris' The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf. One of his brothers comments that he "needs a trail of breadcrumbs to find his own chamber pot".
  • Discworld: In Terry Pratchett's and Stephen Briggs' The Discworld Mapp, explorer Sir Roderick Purdeigh once "wrote a short monograph claiming that the Circle Sea was in fact one million miles across. His erratic six-month voyage on it, during which he never once sighted land, has long been considered one of the most difficult ever achieved (akin to turning an elephant around inside a phone booth without touching the sides)." In The Last Continent, the Dean mentions that Sir Roderick once got lost in his own wardrobe.
  • Dirk Gently, of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. In The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, his preferred method of navigating is following any car that looks like it knows where it's going. In this case, though, it's less a poor sense of direction and more a case of intentionally invoking the Theory of Narrative Causality.
    Dirk Gently: I find an automobile that looks like it knows where it's going, and follow it. I find that I rarely end up where I wanted to go, yet always end up where I need to be.
  • In Alcatraz and the Scrivener's Bones, Kazan's Smedry Talent is to get lost, which allows him to wind up in places which should be impossible to reach once he finds himself again.
  • Agrivex in Curse of the Wolfgirl; her attempts to teleport from London to Edinburgh go via Southampton (about as far from Edinburgh as you can get on the UK Mainland), Cardiff (Wales), and an unknown island containing some seals, amongst other places. And this with her using a map.
  • Bill Bryson's father is described at length in The Lost Continent as being unwilling to ask for directions, and, when finally pressed into doing so, wanders off with the person he asks leaving his family sitting in the car watching flies copulate.
  • There's one children's book about a little boy who's the World Champion of Getting Lost. Yes, apparently this is Serious Business in this book — it's even mentioned that he took the title from another kid some time ago.
  • The reason Ludo Bagman gives for not being worried about Bertha Jorkins disappearance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is that Bertha has no sense of direction and probably went to Australia when she meant to go to Albania.
  • Button-Bright, introduced in L. Frank Baum's The Road to Oz is a stellar example of this trope, especially given that his tendency to get lost often leads the other characters to places or objects they need in order to solve a larger problem.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blackadder: Captain Redbeard Rum (a one-shot character played by Tom Baker) managed to discover Australia 200 years early while trying to sail from England to France. His usual method of sailing is to spin in circles until everyone gets sick, then go home. Except that by "everyone", he apparently means himself — he doesn't believe a crew is a necessary part of a sailing expedition.
  • The Closer: Brenda Johnson is a brilliant interrogator who can see intricacies and loopholes in a case that no one else would even think of, but she couldn't find her way out of a paper bag... which is why Sgt. Gabriel usually does the driving.
  • Maxwell Smart in Get Smart gets lost in the Pentagonnote . Note that "would you believe..." is one of Max's Catch Phrases, involving an epic overstatement of what's actually happening that gets pared down as he's called on it.
    Maxwell Smart: One of our agents once got lost in the Pentagon for three days. Would you believe it? Three days!
    Chief: Max, I find that hard to believe.
    Maxwell Smart: Well, let's see. I went in there on a Thursday...
  • One Monty Python's Flying Circus skit featured "The 100-yard dash for people with no sense of directions". At the boom of the starting gun, they scatter every which way.
  • Top Gear
    • Co-host James "Captain Slow" May is reputed to have no sense of direction. Undoubtedly some of this is played up for comedic effect. His second nickname is even Captain Sense-of-Direction. May claims that his mental mapping is off and his mental picture of England is flipped north/south. He did start the Botswana challenge by driving towards the wrong border.
      Clarkson: To make sure we aren't accused of bias towards the car, it will be driven by [...] a man with no known sense of direction. Him!
      (cut to the back of May's head, as he is facing the audience instead of the camera)
      Hammond: Meanwhile, James managed to get lost... on an oval.
    • Michael Schumacher is apparently afflicted with this, as he did a lap around the track and had no idea where he was going. He eventually started going the wrong way, then got lost before the second-last turn. We're talking about a seven-times Formula One world champion here (go figure). Then again, it is Top Gear, and where Rule of Cool isn't in play, Rule of Funny usually is.
      • They did not play Schumi's lap for laughs for no reason though. He was still with Ferrari and contractually prohibited from driving other cars (like the Suzuki Liana) and thus could not set a proper lap. And they did the Schumi-is-Stig bit because Ferrari insisted their driver do the Ferrari FXX test lap and not Stig.
  • A character named Wrong Way Feldman, played by Hans Conreid, appeared in two first-season episodes of Gilligan's Island.
  • At least one team a season on The Amazing Race gets eliminated after getting tragically lost. Has led to a few Shocking Eliminations.
    • The most notable example of this are three-time contestants [[Cowboy Jet and Cord]], who are incredibly proficient at the actual challenges involved in the game but frequently manage to blow the lead they acquire by finishing them quickly by getting lost or making poor travel decisions along the way.
  • NCIS gives us Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, ME. He always seems to blame his assistant, Palmer, but it's Ducky whose giving the directions.

    Multiple Media 
  • Two characters from the Noob franchise display this: Sparadrap among players and Non-Player Character Jack Céparou, who's sometimes seen looking for his compass.

    Radio 

    Sports 
  • The chaos of sports can sometimes induce this...
  • 1/1/29: During the Rose Bowl, California Bear Roy Riegels picked up a fumble and began running to his own end zone before he was stopped by a teammate at his own 1-yard line. The following punt was blocked and recovered by the Yellow Jackets for a safety — the ultimate difference in an 8-7 Georgia Tech win. Riegels picked up the nickname "Wrong Way" ever since.
  • 10/25/64: Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall picked up a fumble and ran to the end zone (his own, that is), giving the 49ers two points on a safety when he tossed the ball away thinking it was a touchdown. Thankfully for Marshall, his team still won the game, in part because he made a critical defensive play later on.
  • 9/30/12: Kent State player Andre Parker recovered a muffed punt, only to run in the wrong direction. He returned it 58 yards, going the wrong way, until he was stopped by 2 Towson players who had grabbed the Idiot Ball themselves. Fortunately, college football rules state that a muffed punt can't be advanced (or retreated), so Kent State didn't lose any field position and they would go on to win handily.
  • When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were an expansion team in 1976, their first game was played in the Houston Astrodome. They couldn't find their way from the locker room to the field, and almost missed the kickoff. Keep in mind that expansion team rosters are stocked with players from existing teams: a couple of the Buccaneers had formerly played for the Houston Oilers, whose home stadium was the Astrodome, and who played seven games there every season. Even if one considers that they only knew how to find their way from the home locker room, that doesn't excuse the ten or so former Cincinnati Bengals on the team, who as division rivals played a game there every season. Plus, the Bucs were held scoreless in the game, meaning that once on the field, they couldn't find the end zone.
  • Miami Dolphins defensive end T.J. Turner was nicknamed "Wrong Way T.J." after flipping his vehicle at a highway exit ramp in West Palm Beach. He apparently took a wrong turn at Miami's confusing Golden Glades Interchange, where several- err, too many major highways intersect. Easy enough mistake to make...but he went on for another 80 miles before trying to turn around, and was not able to execute said maneuver without turning his truck upside down.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Wallace in Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword. To the point that, after he sets off adventuring after the tutorial levels, he may somehow manage to run into your party again while lost, and rejoin you. It is hinted, however, that that one may have been less related to his lack of direction sense and more to him singlehandedly hunting down the Taliver bandits that killed his lady in liege Lyn's parents and tribe. After the end of the main story, he tried to go back to Caelin but he got lost and somehow ended up in Ilia, which is all the way on northern Elibe even though his destination was at the southern end of the continent.
  • Sammar in Sonic Unleashed. She starts out lost in Apotos, and after you help exorcise her demons, she thinks she's able to get back on her way home, only to get lost again a few more times.
  • Pulled twice in the Suikoden series, with Raura in II and Hortez VII in III. Konami plays with this trope a bit with Hortez, actually. He seeks to make a scroll-making shop in the army's home base, but every time your character gives him the directions, he ends up in a completely different town. After doing this 3 times, you're given the option to give him the wrong directions. Naturally, doing so will result in him getting to the base and officially being recruited.
  • Masaki Andoh in Super Robot Wars tends to get lost easily, whether it's in a battleship or flying around on his Humongous Mecha. A brief list of his "accomplishments":
    • In Super Robot Wars 4and F, he flew around the Earth ten times and failed to find Japan. In Alpha, the record became twenty times.
    • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation he gets lost when someone is giving him an guided tour.
    • In Alpha Gaiden, they actually resort to using the ZERO System, an advanced combat analysis computer from Gundam Wing, in order to find him, and Heero remarks that even with ZERO it was a tough job.
    • At the end of the Nintendo DS remake of Super Robot Wars Gaiden, he gets more lost than he's ever been before. How lost? So lost that he actually ended up in an entirely different video game — Another Century's Episode: R. A video game that takes place on another planet, in Another Dimension. Ironically, at the end of the game when everyone is sent to their home dimensions, Masaki shows up fine but his friends Ryusei and Kyosuke get lost somewhere in transit, a Sequel Hook for Original Generations 2
  • In Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, this is hilariously played with by Shurelia, who easily gets lost in her own tower, not to mention, everywhere else. Also referenced to in Cross Edge, where Misha and Aurica are suddenly worried and go into a panic when they realize that Shurelia is missing.

    Gets parodied even further in Cross Edge when she goes missing again, and Meu goes to look for her. They both end up getting chased by monsters and getting even more hopelessly lost. Zelos puts it best: "Those two need GPS devices tagged on them or something." And within the same game, both Whim and Lily supposedly get lost, and as Raze points out, they were both right behind the camp.
  • Pavel of Professor Layton is an explorer who has no idea which way he's supposed to go. In The Curious Village, he somehow gets from the sewers into the sealed tower. One result of this is that he drops every foreign language he knows into his speech, because he's apparently ended up in a lot of countries this way.
  • Atelier Annie has Beaux, who somehow managed to cross an ocean without even knowing how he did so. He goes missing for a week while delivering a package next door to Annie's workshop, and even with a globe and a compass he still gets lost. He was in denial until he gets the compass fixed.
  • Metal Slug has the Aikawa siblings, Rumi and Madoka, both of whom are in the supply division. Before each mission, they load up their bags with useful items and try to deliver them to the player characters. Unfortunately, the both of them are horrible with directions, which lead to them getting the nickname "The Wandering Ghost."
  • In Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, you run into a girl named Nagi who got lost in the Amber dungeon on the way home. After the third time you encounter her, Recette eventually tells Nagi where her shop is... and has to stop for breath twice in the process until Nagi says she gets it. It gets better: she never even realizes she's in a constantly-shifting dungeon until it's pointed out. Recette and Tear are genuinely shocked when she finally makes it to the shop. And to cap it all off, the game goes on to imply Nagi got lost while going from point to point in Japan. The game is set somewhere vaguely European.
  • In RuneScape, during one quest, you can run into an NPC named Olaf. Eventually, you get a map from him, but he warns you that he could never decipher the mysterious and runic symbols on the map. It's a map of the immediate area with a big X about fifteen steps away.
  • Just about anyone playing a Metroidvania for the first time, without any guides. Or the original Metroid, which early on has paths leading everywhere that in turn have more paths leading everywhere. And no in-game map.
  • The Idolmaster: Azusa Miura is not only a ditzy easygoing girl, she is directionally challenged. When not really escorted, she could easily get lost.
  • Dragon Age II:
    • According to her ingame profile, Merrill has ended up at a dog racing track in Darktown, the Chantry (think church) in Hightown, and the Viscount's airing closet while trying to get home—it's gotten to the point that one of your other party members, a dwarf named Varric, mentions that he has given her a ball of string in party banter and has recommended that she stick it somewhere in her destination so she can backtrack and try again. She mentions how it drives the merchants in the markets crazy—but she gets home! One has to wonder how she gets the string back...
    • Played for Laughs in the Mark of the Assassin DLC, when your party is separated and Hawke and Tallis get incarcerated. The other two party members (whoever you brought with you) try to break you out but get hopelessly lost in the (not really that expansive) dungeon. Merrill, of course, doesn't see anything unusual in the situation, and several references are made to her spool of twine (which she conveniently forgot to bring along). Varric, in the meantime, alludes to Hawke's impeccable visual memory and sense of direction.
  • In Valve's commentary for Half-Life 2: Episode 2, they noted that during playtesting, one of the players literally spent an hour walking in circles in a cave area. This made Valve redesign the level a bit to help players find their way.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Plautis Carvain and Salonia Carvain, two Imperial nobles who are on their way from Cyrodiil to Solitude to attend a wedding. You can encounter them all over Skyrim, except near the place they need to be. In fact, they'll never make it to Solitude and instead end up in Windhelm, which lies in the northeast of Skyrim, while Solitude lies in the northwest. Quite the accomplishment, because while Skyrim is a big place, sticking to the main roads and following the signs normally gets you where you need to be.
  • BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma gives us Celica A. Mercury, who takes this trope and runs with it. It is made clear from the word go that she can get lost on a straight road with a map, and many characters have to functionally escort her for this very reason. At one point, Kokonoe has to give her step by step directions to get back to her without Ragna at her side, and even Hakumen worries that she'd "starve in an alley" without a guide.

    Visual Novels 
  • Chelsea Arcot of Shukufuku no Campanella, who was still pacing outside of the Clan Oasis homestead where she was headed, not knowing if she's there yet. Lampshaded by her childhood friend Shelly Maycraft after being ushered in and introducing herself. Interesting for such a person to become a Holy Knight.
  • The Visual Novel Happiness! has Shinya Kamijyo, who has such a terrible sense of direction, that when he intends to go to school (even when accompanied by his twin sister Saya), he always ends up elsewhere (such as the sewers), but no matter where he is, whenever Saya is in any danger, he instantly knows where she is and comes rushing towards her exact location within seconds.
  • In the Dating Sim Princess Debut, Prince Luciano is notorious for his total lack of navigation skills, and gets angry if anyone calls him on it. In one instance, he confuses the local lake for an ocean.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Hisao is a subtler example than most, but still fits. In Shizune's route, it takes him an hour to get back to the school from the Shanghai, which students often visit at lunch. In Act 1, while looking for the library, he wanders into the tea room and meets Lilly for the first time.
  • Masaomi Hibiya of Serendipity Next Door not only has no sense of direction, he can't even read a map to save his life. The protagonist has to guide him from their apartment building to a nearby convenience store on several occasions, as without someone to show him the way he tends to end up wandering helplessly around outside the building trying to figure out which way to hold the map.

    Web Animation 
  • Donut of Red vs. Blue tends to wind up at the opposing Blue base due to this, those times he doesn't wind up at the cliff wall, instead. This apparently extends to spatial awareness as well.
    Donut: What? You're leaving us out here without any transportation? We'll die!
    Church: Die of what?
    Donut: Exposure! We're stranded! This is murder.
    Church: Your base is right there, I can see it.
    Donut: You may as well just feed us to the buzzards right now.
    Church: You could have walked back to the base in the time we've been discussing this.
    Donut: Go. Just sign our death warrants.

    Web Comics 
  • Black Belt in 8-Bit Theater has gotten so lost he breaks the laws of physics. Once, he managed to create a copy of himself by bending space-time while getting lost in a straight hallway; another time, he managed to cross a lava pit by following the rope that he was holding up on one side.
    Black Belt: You try walking a straight line without bumping into wave functions of neighboring realities!
    Black Mage: We do it all the time. It's called not being so stupid it warps the universe!
    Fighter: Univarse. It's pronounced "univarse".
  • In Gone With The Blast Wave, it appears that everyone without a map is completely lost, and those that do have them tend to either lose them or misread them.
  • Featured in "The Detour", a Buttersafe comic.
    Demon: You ended up in the Twelfth Plane of Torment on your way to the kitchen?
  • Saffron of Fetch Quest: Saga of the Twelve Artifacts is especially prone to this. For example, Ambrosia gives us:
    Ambrosia: One time when she was a kid, she got lost in the castle for several hours trying to find her room.
  • Zoro's lack of direction is also present in the webcomic One Piece Grand Line 3 Point 5. As part of his Min-Maxing, Zoro's player took the "Super Directionless" flaw. Whenever he wants to move without help he has to roll a 100-sided die and see where he winds up, making it essentially a random teleport.
    Nami: Are you on another island?
    Zoro: Well, I have a swim speed, so technically it is possible.

    Web Original 
  • "Mr. Lost" from the SCP Foundation is wholly incapable of being transported or directed to any destination. He himself can't choose a destination and just wanders aimlessly everywhere. If anything does try to transport him, random events such as radar malfunctions and earthquakes will render transportation impossible. Even worse, his lousy sense of direction is contagious. For instance, if he's forcibly stopped and a building is constructed around him, anyone attempting to find the building will become lost.
  • YouTube star Tobuscus suffers from this in any game he plays that doesn't have an obvious linear path forward. Particular examples include Minecraft and Skyrim. In the former he has a mod that provides a minimap plus waypoints and completely ignores it 95% of the time; and in the latter he regularly ignores his compass and the quest markers that appear on it, often spending half an episode wandering off in the entirely wrong direction.
  • The trio from HAT Films tend to either go in circles or simply not pay attention to what they are carrying whenever they play Minecraft.
  • In the "Moses vs. Santa Claus" episode of Epic Rap Battles of History, Santa's elves offer Moses a GPS wondering who could possibly get lost for 40 years. Of course, given that Moses is shown high, this could be justified.
  • Red in Twitch Plays Pokémon, thanks to the Mind Hive's conflicting directions.
  • One of Battlefailed's claims to fame is such ridiculous Bizarchitecture that it repeatedly broke the pathfinding of fallen beasts and other threats, leaving them wandering around the lower levels of the fortress for years. In fact, one of the fortress's room is impossible for the players to locate.

    Western Animation 
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: Captain Peter "Wrong Way" Peachfuzz. He's so bad that his crew keeps him in a fake control room while the ship's real controls are elsewhere. But then he loses his way, goes into the real controls by mistake, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Bugs Bunny can end up anywhere in the world, after missing that left turn in Albuquerque. At several points (ironically when his wrong turn was somewhere other than Albuquerque), Bugs would somehow get so lost he winds up travelling through time.
  • In World Of Quest, Way is a living direction finder, able to locate and display a route to absolutely anything, anywhere. The rest of her people can't go two blocks without getting lost.
  • Played with in Avatar: The Last Airbender . Zuko is tracking Aang to capture him, but the records of his positions show his movement near impossible to predict. Zuko comments that he must truly be a master of evasion. Cut to Sokka saying, "You have no idea where we're going, do you?" as Aang is literally going wherever he wants to have fun at, e.g. a place to go surfing before heading off to a different location.
  • In the Finnish political satire Itsevaltiaat Kuningasmusikaali, two Finnish ministers got lost while trying to find a dragon's lair (It Makes Sense in Context). Their path goes trough a farm, a tropical island and the moon until accidentally finding a dragon's lair.
  • Garfield and Friends: Somehow it once took a whole day for Jon to find the way out of a tunnel. Garfield can't understand how it happened.
  • Lavender Castle: Sproggle, who tends to have trouble telling apart his left and his right. Ironically, Captain Thrice ends up making him the navigator of his spaceship.

    Real Life 
  • Famed aviator Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan: Denied permission to fly the Atlantic by the FAA in 1938, he took off after angrily declaring his intention to return home to Long Beach, California. He landed in Ireland 28 hours and 18 minutes later, claiming he'd flown the wrong way. Wrong Way Corrigan lived until 1995 and never once admitted that his transatlantic flight was anything other than an accident. Several fictional characters on this page were named in his honor.
  • There is a Russian saying for No Sense Of Direction meaning "to lose one's way in a three-pine forest". There are many more colorful idioms out there for describing the trope.
  • In Japanese the word "houkouonchi" literally means "directionally tone-deaf", and is used more idiomatically to call someone an idiot.
  • This is the reason why turn-by-turn GPS units are so popular.
  • One of the common reasons that people fail the driving test is that they may drive fine but find it hard to follow directions, especially while nervous and under pressure.
  • Developmental Topographical Disorientation is a cognitive disorder which causes people to literally have no sense of direction — not just being bad at finding new places, but being unable to orient themselves in their own house or neighborhood.
  • People who are not one side dominate often have trouble telling left from right because of the "wiring in the brain" is criss crossed. They frequently have trouble with directions that include turn left, or will give directions like turn towards the old red barn. This often applies to people with autism.


The NavigatorNavigation TropesRandom Teleportation
Nobody PoopsUniversal TropesOff the Chart
No Sense of HumorCharacter Flaw IndexNo Sense of Personal Space
Money FetishImageSource/Anime & MangaOur Giants Are Bigger
Monty Hall ProblemJustForFun/Tropes Examined by the Myth BustersPop The Tires
No Respect GuyCharacters as DeviceNo Sense of Humor

alternative title(s): Lack Of Direction Sense
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