She'll get the last
She's got the future
And I got the past
I got the class ring
She got the diamond and wedding band
I got the boy...
And she got the man."
When First Girl Wins is not in effect, the most likely love interest to win the heart of the protagonist at the end of a story is the last girl we meet in the series.
In story with multiple love interests, 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. (Indeed, this trope is how most Real Life love stories end.)
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. Fans will invariably form their own preferences as to who the Official Couple should be, but the Last Girl winning will be better received if she's introduced early enough to get her own fan following, rather than if the writers are trying to convince everyone in the audience to abandon their initial preference in favor of her. If the last girl turns out to be the first girl, this is First Girl After All.
Spoiler warning, of course.
- Subverted in Code Geass R2. Kallen was the Last Girl to have romantic developments with resident Anti-Hero Lelouch. In R2, first girl Shirley was shot to death by potential Gay Option Rolo, leaving Kallen as the only plausible option. In the end, however, Lelouch rejects Kallen shortly before his death so she won't die with him.
- Because of the Anachronic Order of Haruhi Suzumiya, 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...
- 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.
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Asuka is the last person Shinji is seen 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, which are confirmed by him seeking her out for support and confessing that he wants to "stay with her forever". The glimpse into Asuka's psyche from Episode 22 and her dialogue during Third Impact confirms the feeling is mutual. And supplementary materials explain that Asuka returned with him to the real world because she specifically needed him and he needed her in his world.
- In Pokémon Adventures, 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.
- From a chronological viewpoint, the Ranma/Akane relationship in Ranma ½ 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.
- 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.
- 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 although she dematerializes right after the wedding ceremony.
- Feena in Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na is the last possible love interest to appear, save for the Token Mini-Moe.
- Circles: In the case of Marty, who meets Taye toward the end of the first issue. Some of this also comes through in John and Arthur, who while part of the One True Threesome with Paulie ended up drifting apart, having several other lovers, and eventually being alone... until at last, they get together in Issue 7.
- Slightly subverted male example in Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Between Germany and Japan, Italy chose Japan and Germany, therefore entering into a polyamorous relationship with them both. In other words, both won.
- Children of an Elder God: Shinji falls for and ends up with Asuka. He meets her in chapter 5, after meeting Misato, Rei, Hikari... and all remaining relevant female characters.
- HERZ: Asuka in more ways than one: she was the last important female character Shinji met during the War. In the story she appears after Misato, Kurumi... and she is married to Shinji.
- Last Child of Krypton: Asuka is the last important female character joins the cast and the one Shinji falls in love with.
- Once More with Feeling: Asuka was the last relevant character Shinji met in the original timeline, and he fell for her. In the reset timeline she is also the last girl he meets, and he wants to hook up with her.
- The One I Love Is: Rei was the first female character who shows up in the story. Asuka comes along later. Shinji fell for both but in the end he chose Asuka.
- In Shatterheart has a two-way version, R!Syaoran is last person to join the group and Kurogane is last person he meets. Both end up falling for each other despite having previous love interests and they decide to get engaged at the end of the Nihon Arc.
- 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.
- The Dark Knight Rises has Bruce Wayne settling down with Selina Kyle .
- In Enchanted, Prince Edward ends up with Nancy, the last woman he meets in the real world.
- Used surprisingly often in the James Bond films.
- Oz the Great and Powerful has the eponymous wizard winding up with Glinda the Good Witch of the South, after going through Theodora.
- 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.
- 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 emphasizes the "Last" part of the trope.
- Vamps: Danny remains devoted to his wife, who he met after Goody left him and who is later turned into a vampire.
- Liz Lemon from 30 Rock gets a new boyfriend every season. She ends up marrying and adopting children with Chris Chros, who is introduced in the last season.
- 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.
- 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.
- How I Met Your Mother: 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. However, in series finale, the Mother dies and Ted finally gets together with Robin, so we have both First Girl Wins and Last Girl Wins.
- It was a Foregone Conclusion, but neither Chloe Sullivan nor Alicia Baker nor Lana Lang had a chance against Lois Lane on Smallville, thanks to being Doomed by Canon.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has 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, when he ends up with Ezri at the end of the series.
- Star Trek: Voyager had this happen in the finale with Chakotay and Seven. Though many a J/C shipper would be loath to admit it, the fact that Janeway had rejected Chakotay's advances seasons ago, B'Elanna was Happily Married to Tom, Seska was a disaster and his alien love interests never worked out, it wasn't that far-fetched for him to turn to the now far more human and mature Seven of Nine, and marry her (in one possible future at least).
- 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)
- Baldur's Gate II:
- In the context of the game 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Genealogy of the Holy War:
- Tailtiu is the last of Lewyn's potential wives to appear, and she fits the trope if you hook them up (which quite a few people do), but is non-canon. Brigid the archer is also this to every unpaired male, but especially fellow Archers Jamke and Midir, who start out being in love with her sister Edain... which is questioned to be Loving a Shadow in both their Lover Conversations at the end of Gen 1.
- Male example: Claud 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/Tailtiu and Azelle/Tailtiu 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. Azelle in particular fits this trope since Lex didn't know Ayra until she was recruited. Azelle, on the other hand, had his entire reason for joining with Sigurd as a way to be close to Edain.
- In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, Mysterious Waif Sophia is this for protagonist Roy.
- In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, either Fiora for Eliwood, or Farina for Hector. Hector himself is the Last Guy for Lyndis. And there's Sain as Last Guy for Rebecca, and Farina doubling as Last Girl for Kent...
- In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones:
- Badass Bookworm Saleh is the last of Eirika's potential husbands that we meet, regardless of route. He fits the trope if they hook up through supports.
- In the case of Eirika's brother Ephraim, there's L'Arachel... Who is also Last Girl for Innes, if chosen 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 one choose.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening:
- Out of Chrom's bachelorettes the last one to arrive is Shrinking Violet Olivia. She can marry Chrom in the same chapter she appears! (And the game even pokes fun at it!)
- For most of the general pool of marriageable men, Cherche is the last marriageable woman to join the party. There are two exceptions: Virion has known Cherche for far longer than the rest of the party, so his Last Girl is also Olivia, while Henry joins after Cherche and has no Last Girl.
- For the marriagable women (including Sumia, the girl with the smallest pool of prospect boyfriends), the Last Guy is Sociopathic Hero Henry.
- Since his Paralogue is the last one to be unlocked, it's extremely likely that Priam will be this for a Female Avatar if he's the chosen boyfriend/husband for her. If the Player Character is a male, however, the Last Girl is Aversa, shall she be recruited. It's played with a bit in that this character has been encountered in the story several times before becoming a love interest and knew the Avatar since childhood; the last love interest the male Avatar actually meets is Tiki.
- Fire Emblem Fates:
- In Birthright, the Last Girl for a male Avatar is Scarlet. For the female Avatar, Shura is the Last Guy to be encountered in the story while Yukimura is the Last Guy to join the party.
- In Conquest, the Last Guy for a female Avatar is Izana. For the male Avatar, Charlotte is the Last Girl to be encountered in the story while Flora is the Last Girl to join the party.
- In Revelation, for a male Avatar, the Last Girl to be encountered in the story is Setsuna while the Last Girl to join the party is Flora. For a female Avatar, the Last Guy to be encountered in the story is either Odin or Niles while the Last Guy to join the party is Fuga.
- Genealogy of the Holy War:
- 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.
- 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. Subverted the other way around: Tidus may be the last of the male leads Yuna meets, but Cool Old Guy, Beast Man (Squick) and Big Brother Mentor, however, don't qualify as love interests. The only other potential love interest in the game is Seymour, which appears much later. But since Seymour is a psycho, Tidus wins by default.
- Mass Effect:
- Jack in Mass Effect 2 is the last female love interest Commander Shepard meets that provides the romance achievement. Although romancing her is the most challenging, it pays off in the end since she does have one of the most heartwarming moments her character experiences.
- Steve Cortez and Samantha Traynor are the only full-fledged Love Interests to be introduced in Mass Effect 3. Choosing either of them means choosing them over every other candidate from the previous games.
- In the Never Winter 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.
- Dragon Age:
- Zevran Arainai in Dragon Age: Origins is the last romanceable companion to be recruited, as by the time you encounter him, Lothering is closed off permanently, thus preventing you from recruiting Leliana if you haven't done so already.
- In Dragon Age II, Sebastian is the last possible love interest to join the gang, as he cannot become a companion until Act 2 - but only if you have his DLC and are playing a female Hawke. Otherwise, it's one of the four recruited in Act 1 (Fenris, Anders, Merrill, or Isabela), who can be acquired in almost any order; Anders and Merrill are required by the game, so the last one is likely to be either Fenris or Isabela.
- Dragon Age: Inquisition has the most potential romances in the franchise to date, although they vary based on the player character's race and gender. Four of them belong to either your starting party or your advisory council; of the four who have to be actively recruited, only one - Sera - is female. If the player recruits all the other companions while still in Haven and does the quest "Champions of the Just," then the last romanceable companion to join the crew will be Dorian.
- While the Visual Novel elements that became a mainstay of the series weren't present in Persona 2, a similar effect comes into play with a potentially romantic demon contact option Tatsuya (the Player Character of Innocent Sin) can obtain late in the game. Depending on how the player respond to Lisa Silverman's question after the boss battle with her Shadow, Tatsuya can form a romantic contact option with Lisa herself, with Maya Amano (both being childhood friends of his)... or with the very male Jun Kurosu, who is also the final playable character to join the party.
- Played with in Persona 3. Aigis, the Robot Girl created by the Kirijo Group, is both the final female party member to join, and her Social Link is the very last one to open up (it opens in January, the final month of the game). It's subverted near the end of the game where the players learn that she met the protagonist ten years prior, and she was the one who sealed Thanatos in his/her body. With that in mind, the actual last girl for the male protagonist is Fuuka Yamagishi, the eventual Mission Control. In the PSP port of the game, the last boy for the female protagonist can either be Ken Amada (among the party) or Ryoji Mochizuki (among the Social Links), although the latter is a case of Star-Crossed Lovers - he's the very same Thanatos that Aigis sealed away prior to the beginning of the game.
- In Persona 4 and Persona 5, the final female party members you get also double as the final Social Links/Confidants you get, and in the case of 4, she's literally the final party member to join you (you get another male after Haru in 5). 4 has Naoto Shirogane, the detective who's been following you since May, and 5 has Haru Okumura, a Lonely Rich Kid who attends your school and is the daughter of one of the targets that the Phantom Thieves are pursuing.
- Kasumi Yoshizawa in Persona 5 Royal is an interesting case: while she's introduced early in the story and her confidant starts much earlier than Haru's, she's the last party member to join you and her confidant can only be completed during the Third Term events, long after you've likely finished everyone else's. This is because uncovering "Kasumi's" true identity as her sister Sumire is necessary in order to advance her confidant, and you can't do this until after defeating the original game's Final Boss and setting the events of the Third Term in motion.
- In Deardrops, Riho is technically the last girl to join the band, but she's certainly the canon love interest.
- 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 the first few days of the story from Rin's perspective.
- This is what happens in Rin Tezuka's path in Katawa Shoujo.
- 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.
- This takes place in True Love Junai Monogatari if the chosen love interest for the Player Character is Ryoko Shimazaki aka Sonoko Takahashi, a girl who transfers into the PC's class in September... when the game begins in July.
- 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.)
- Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow has several potential options, depending on one's POV since as of very early October 2017 not all the routes have been released. Storywise-speaking, the Last Boy is Nobuyoshi aka the Tokugawa Shogun since he's currently an NPC who shows up in the Epilogues of some routes (namely, Tsubaki's and Hijikata's), but out of all the boyfriends (again, as of October 2017), three routes are still in development, including Nobuyoshi's own. The other two paths are Okita (due to be out in the soon-to-come weeks) and Sakamoto (who, like Nobuyoshi, has no set release at the moment)
- The Legend of Korra ends with Korra starting a relationship with Asami. While Asami was literally the "first girl", she was the last of Korra's potential Love Interests to be introduced, and wasn't even framed as a potential romantic interest in her introduction. In fact, she was initially Korra's romantic rival.