A character who is a species unto themself, the Sole Survivor of some calamity that has wiped out their entire civilization. If this civilization used to be important in the power balance between civilizations that still remain, it's now considered missing.
This might mean that they're the last survivor of a particular society or secret order, but for full effect they are actually the last of an entire civilization, or even biological species.
Such a character is liable to manifest some profound Survivor Guilt, and the prospect of avenging their kind may develop into an obsession that acts as an Achilles' Heel. It will also provide an excuse for them to be substantially different (read: "better") in skill, abilities, or morality than the rest of the characters. However, the writers still need to be careful as to how they construct this Survivor Guilt: owing to Angst Dissonance, even something as traumatic as this can still degenerate into Wangst if the character seems determined not to get over it and eventually move on, or if the character's pain is written in an unconvincing fashion.
Since this kind of loneliness is the sort of thing that could easily drive you mad, evil versions are about as common as good ones, particularly of the Straw Nihilist strain. In general, being the last of one's kind is a polarizing experience: the only folks who tend to survive the death of their species are either the very best examples, or the very worst. The evil version will often carry a thematic notion that their very existence is an affront to the natural order, as they "ought" to have died with the rest of their kind, and it's rather rude of them to keep hanging on to life well past their time. Some really evil versions might even be responsible for the deaths of the rest of their race in a way (see Lobo below), as may The Atoner every once in a blue moon (see Tetrax, further below). (Not-quite-as-evil versions may have survived because of some evil act such as cowardice, betraying their race to the enemy, being exiled for crimes, or morally questionable ways of prolonging their lives. In either case, if it was an engineered genocide, it just backfired. Or, the "last of his kind" character could be evil just because the "kind" itself is Always Chaotic Evil.
Very often, at least for the heroic sort, it will eventually be revealed that There Is Another.
It is fairly uncommon for such a character to be the lead character, even if they are an important member of the regular cast. Perhaps that level of isolation is just too much for the audience to really wrap their minds around — with most characters who are cut off from their own kind, there is at least the prospect of an eventual reunion. This character lacks even that prospect. However, a common Aesop (for the heroic ones at least) they learn is that, even if their race is gone, they aren't truly alone, having people with them who still love and care for them.
Compare Fling a Light into the Future, Humanity's Wake, Uniqueness Value, and Living Relic. Genocide Backfire and Genocide from the Inside can both cause this trope. Endangered Species and Dying Race are not as extreme versions, although they may lead to this eventually. Sometimes paired with The Aloner for truly horrifying angst. Occasionally Played for Drama or Played for Laughs with Only You Can Repopulate My Race. Occasionally the Last Of His Kind is of a previously extant Barbarian Tribe of some kind. If There Is Another, see Adam and Eve Plot. The Collector likely wants to put him in their Fantastic Nature Reserve.
Contrast with Monster Progenitor and The Chosen Many. Compare Racial Remnant. Overlaps with Single Specimen Species. If this is taking place in an After the End setting or such, don't be surprised if The Last Man Hears a Knock.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- Video Games
- Web Comics
- Western Animation
- Real Life
- A meta-example would be the Spider-Man daily newspaper strip; once, superheroes were primarily known to the public through the newspaper strips, and all the major superheroes had their own strips. Now, Amazing Spider-Man is the last superhero daily strip, and one of only a few remaining daily on-goings altogether.
- A couple of The Far Side strips play with this: a dinosaur stands alone among a bunch of caves all labelled "extinct" ("Suddenly Bobby felt very alone") while The Last of the Mohicans fruitlessly calls out for his fellow tribesmen. ("OK fellas, joke's over!"}
- The Sea Hag, Popeye's arch nemesis, is the last witch on Earth.
- Lone Wolf is the last surviving Kai Lord after the Darklords massacred the rest of the order at their monastery. He would later repay the favour through the genocide of the Darklords and rebuilding the Kai Order to the point where it has five Grand Masters. Becoming the first Kai Supreme Master is just a nice bonus.
- The song "Sole Survivor" by Blue Öyster Cult.
- The song 'last of a dying breed'.
- "Last of My Kind" by Alice in Chains
- "The Last of Our Kind", Rykka's song for Switzerland in the 2016 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.
- "Last of the Steampowered Trains" by The Kinks from The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society:
"I'm the last of the good old renegades.
All my friends are all middle class and grey,
But I live in a museum, so I'm okay.
I'm the last of the good old fashioned steam-powered trains.
Like the last of the good ol' choo-choo trains,
Huff and puff 'till I blow this world away,
And I'm gonna keep on rollin' till my dying day."
- Kevin Von Erich: He became the last of the Von Erich brothers in the early 90s, after five of the six Von Erich brothers died young.
- Memphis was the last of the traditional wrestling territories to still function as an independent entity, unaffiliated with the WWE or WCW. Financial woes and a lack of marketable talent caused the USWA (a merger of Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett's CWA and Fritz Von Erich's WCCW) to fold in 1997. USWA's successor, Memphis Championship Wrestling, was conceived as a WWE developmental territory, like Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). The last pre-Monday Night Wars territory to be established was Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling in 1991.
- Ric Flair was the last World Champion of the classic NWA territory system. When Flair first won the belt in 1981, his schedule was set by a national Board of Directors who split his time among several regional promotions, including overseas trips to promotions in Japan, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. This was the business model that professional wrestling had followed since 1948. During Flair's time as champion, that system broke down, and by the time Flair left that title behind in 1991, he was an exclusive employee of WCW.
- The Undertaker picked up the nickname "The Last Outlaw" during a feud with Triple H and later promos played up his status as one of the last remnants of the 1980s era high-concept comic-book-style gimmicks. (Really, the only other one is his storyline half-brother Kane.) If you want to get technical, it's really Kane who's left from that era, because 'Taker can no longer wrestle on a regular basis, so much so that his appearances in recent years have only been during the lead-up to WrestleMania and the actual pay-per-view itself.
- In 1997, Bret Hart, shortly after his FaceHeel Turn at WrestleMania 13, reformed the Hart Foundation as an Anti-American stable, reuniting with Jim Neidhart, and recruiting Owen Hart, The British Bulldog and Brian Pillman in the process. Now, Bret is the only surviving member, as Jim passed away in August 2018.
- With the departure of James Storm in 2015, Abyss is the last wrestler in TNA to have appeared in the company's very first broadcast. And of the TNA Originals themselves, only he, Bobby Roode, and Eric Young remain. As of March 2016, it's just Abyss.
- Cheerleader Melissa was the longest lasting of the SHIMMER originals, talking about the Heart Of SHIMMER tournament and how it described her, who had seen every woman who had failed in the company. However after giving this speech another original would return on the next volume.
- They pop up from time to time in Magic: The Gathering, almost exclusively with the Legendary supertype. For example, Thrun was the sole troll to survive the first Mirrodin block (and God knows how close any other species on Mirrodin has come to it with the Phyrexian takeover), while Momir Vig on Ravnica was supposedly the last of his particular subset of elves (and given that he was also a megalomaniac who unleashed a Blob Monster on the world For Science! it's not like anyone particularly missed them). Subverted with Niv-Mizzet, though; he was supposedly the last dragon on Ravnica, but it turns out that there are actually a bunch of dragons on Ravnica and Niv-Mizzet just doesn't consider them worthy of the title because they're kind of stupid.
- Played for drama with Samut. Samut is the last refugee of Nactamun, the only inhabited city on the desert plane of Amonkhet. Her entire life—as well as the lives of everyone on Amonkhet—was to succeed at the Trials, an endless series of challenges both competitive and cooperative reminiscent of the Hunger Games. Then God-Pharoah Nicol Bolas revealed that the purpose of the Trials was to create an undead army, which was now complete, rendering Amonkhet obsolete...so he destroyed the magic keeping Nactamun from turning to desert and left with his army. Only Samut escaped, but was then forced to battle with said undead army on Ravnica. Some cards note that Samut recognized faces among those of the Dreadhorde.
- Mutant Chronicles: Sean Gallagher, the Wolfbane warleader, is the last living member of the Gallagher family. The Gallagher home was attacked by the Dark Legion during a clan meet, and Sean was the only member of the Chief family not present.
- Deadline, a villain from Sentinels of the Multiverse, became the last of his kind during a catastrophe on his home planet. When he was approached by the being known as the Terminarch, he accepted her offer of immortality to preserve his race's memory.
- By extention, the Endlings, the group Deadline became part of, also have the same backstory: The last of their kind given immortality.
- Haka is also this, at least in the far distant future ofThe Final Wasteland, where he is the last human. He spends most of his time collecting books and other knowledge he can find.
- Parodied in Toon: the Cartoon RPG. The Foogle Bird from the sample adventure "I Foogled You!" is the last of its kind... but there are many kinds of Foogle Bird, all the last of their kind, and all obnoxious and mischievous.
- In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Titus Germanicus' letters in Chronicles of the Black Labyrinth describe Brennus, the last White Howler chieftain. After his warriors fell in battle, he was probably the last White Howler left in Caledonia. Black Spiral Dancers later captured and beheaded him.
- Shadowrun: One of Harlequin's aliases is "Last knight of the Crying Spire".
- By the third act of the play R.U.R. (a.k.a. Rossum's Universal Robots), the only human left is Alquist who was the Clerk of the Works at the factory and was spared during the robot uprising because he "works with his hands like the robots".